Academic & Developmental Crisis Planning: 2021 Recap and Looking Ahead to 2022
With the ongoing proliferation of mental health issues among adolescents and young adults combined with the impact of remote learning on the most vulnerable students, our special needs practice continued to see increased demand in 2021. We continue to attribute this bulge in our therapeutic and crisis planning practice to COVID’s impact on the educational, social and emotional development of our youth.
Placing over 75 adolescents and young adults in a wide range of supportive programming that address issues from acute mental illness to milder presentations of emotional and functional impairment in 2021, we saw a significant increase in families initially reaching out to us for school planning as a means to address their children’s learning struggles only to find that an initial therapeutic intervention was required to manage the more acute emotional issues that had burgeoned as a result of COVID-related circumstances.
“Long haul COVID” for us at McMillan Education doesn’t refer to a host of lingering medical symptoms of the virus; we are instead experiencing it as the long-term implications of students’ lost educational, social and emotional exposures and development. We predict that these impairments and struggles manifest in the ripple effects of COVID will be with our youth, sadly, for years to come. We are thus increasing our team of consultants who have a deep expertise in learning and developmental disabilities and in their related emotional and behavioral accompanying presentations to meet this need. More news on that exciting front to come soon!
2020 and most of 2021 saw therapeutic programming meet the moment and provide a much-needed sanctuary — a port in the storm, if you will — for our most vulnerable students, thanks to how admirably they managed COVID and continued to provide the world’s premier behavioral health treatment. But sadly we saw the programs themselves becoming vulnerable to COVID in the second half of this past year. Some of our most valued go-to programs suffered the effects of clinical burn-out and staffing shortages, while a small number of others closed their doors, a great loss to needy students and families. Thankfully, the best of these programs have taken the opportunity to review and reboot their best selves while undergoing leadership, structural and staff changes necessitated by the labor market impacts of COVID.
The COVID-related impact on therapeutic programming means expert guidance in making the best match placements for families and our travel and site visits to stay on top of a dynamic landscape are more important than ever. Thankfully, we were able to fit in an extensive trip to 15 programs in the NC, SC and NW GA area between the Delta and Omicron outbreaks. And we will be back on the road in April, visiting programs in the Salt Lake City area with more site visits planned for the second half of the year.
We predict that the premiere private behavioral health programs will continue to thrive and that we will continue to be able to leverage our long-established relationships with the clinical and academic teams at the best of the best of these programs on behalf of students and families in need of this precious resource.