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Filush-Glaze: School children are facing more challenges than ever before
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Filush-Glaze: School children are facing more challenges than ever before

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Filush-Glaze: A New Epidemic: Our children are suffering

Jenny Filush-Glaze

Many of you may know that in addition to my private practice work, I also have a contract to work within the school system to provide additional support.

And though I have walked alongside children and teens that have experienced painful loss for years and I am well accustomed to their reactions and their needs, nothing has prepared me for what I am encountering presently on a daily basis. Point blank, and being brutally honest, they are suffering beyond anything I have ever witnessed.

When I say that “the layers run deep,” I am referring to the fact that we are encountering children facing loss of epic proportions. In addition to the death of loved ones, COVID-19 is still raging and creating havoc and the state of our children’s mental health and wellbeing is surfacing in horrific ways.

As a counselor, I have to credit our area teachers, administrators, counselors, assistants and other staff because they have recognized that something is “off” about what our kids are currently facing. Financial issues have been straining households and now you have kids who are facing food insecurity and parents stressed to the max that have become highly volatile, sometimes leading to horrendous levels of abuse and neglect.

Some might say I am exaggerating or blowing things out of proportion, but I can tell you in all honesty that what I, and many of my colleagues are currently seeing, is beyond devastating.

It is not unusual for me to see staff carrying the weight of their student’s emotions, feeling broken by the level of despair these kids are expressing. And, that’s just the ones that we know about, right? What scares me is the number of children told to keep family secrets at home or the ones who have trust issues and simply struggle talking to anyone about how they are feeling or sharing what they are going through. The ones that do share talk about how much of a relief it is to unburden what they have been carrying, and it’s almost as if they sense they have found their life raft, clinging on with all the strength they can muster.

To me, what stands out is how many kids weren’t even looking forward to the holidays. In the past, kids would be counting down the days for their break, but now school has become their safe haven. The support they have found from their teachers, peers and counselors seems to outweigh the absence of what they are receiving at home, thus entering the holiday season is being faced with dread.

If you are like me, you find this beyond heartbreaking. The loneliness, despair and high levels of anxiety these children are carrying is leading to horrific crisis situations, many of which will impact me and the people who have worked with them forever.

I have never seen it this bad, and that unfortunately is an understatement. Post-Thanksgiving, I am forever grateful to the powers that be who recognize that our children are suffering and that they deserve our unconditional understanding and support.

Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at


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