It can be tough, sometimes, to navigate friendships, especially for kids. And one thing this pandemic has brought into glaring focus is how important social connections are for youngsters.

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A review of how loneliness and disease containment measures during the Covid-19 outbreak impacted the mental health of children and adolescents showed that:

 

"Children and adolescents are probably more likely to experience high rates of depression and most likely anxiety during and after enforced isolation ends. This may increase as enforced isolation continues. Clinical services should offer preventive support and early intervention where possible and be prepared for an increase in mental health problems."

The review was put together by the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection in November of 2020.

As kids transition back into in-person learning situations, being in social situations and around friends again can present challenges.

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That's why The Penobscot River Educational Partnership (PREP), wants to help. PREP, according to the University of Maine's website, is "an action-centered collaborative focused on enhancing the learning of PK-12 students by continually improving teaching and the educational experience."

And they've asked Dr. Lauren Holleb, who is a licensed psychologist and Assistant Professor of Mental Health and Human Services with the University of Maine at Augusta, to conduct a Zoom meeting, for local parents and teachers, to give them some guidance on how to best support the social well-being of their kids and students.

The Bangor School Department is one of the school systems spreading the news about Dr. Holleb's talk. According to their Facebook Page:

"This session will provide an overview of friendship and peer acceptance during childhood and adolescence, discuss its importance to socio-emotional adjustment and well-being, and ways that parent(s)/guardian(s) can identify and help students who may be struggling socially. The session will provide an evidence-based discussion of friendship, aspects of friendship that afford risk and resilience, how friendships differ based on sex and developmental level, and practical ideas for how to handle social challenges."

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Dr. Holleb, who is also a certified Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Provider, will be available, during the 55-minute session, to answer questions.

The event is scheduled to take place this Thursday, from 6:00 PM-6:55 PM.

If you're interested in joining the conversations, the link to the meeting is:

Password: 156787

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