The Pandemic & Mental Health: Impact on Students and their Families

From school closings to virtual graduations, the stress and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic presents daily challenges to the mental health and well-being of children and teenagers--as well as their parents.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected us in many ways: physically, emotionally, economically, socially, and psychologically. We are dealing with the disruption of our lives, fear of serious disease, uncertainty, and isolation. In this situation stress and anxiety are inevitable. They are natural responses to challenging times. Join us as we discuss the current impact on the mental health and wellbeing of students and the family as well the long-term implications. We will share with you how to recognize the signs of anxiety and depression; tips on how to cope; and provide you with resources for emergency and ongoing support.  


KELSEY BUCHANAN serves as a Secondary School Counselor for the Alexandria City Public School System where she primarily serves students in the AVID program. A DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) native growing up in Northern Virginia, Kelsey is in her 4th year as a School Counselor. She is highly experienced in developing accommodations with students who have a 504 plan, assisting students in the Individualized Education Program (IEP),  conducting suicide risk assessments, and monitoring at-risk students. Ms. Buchanan is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), holds a Master in School Counseling from George Washington University and a Bachelor in Human Services from the University of Delaware. 

To Kelsey, mental health is the essence of personal growth. Strong mental health allows people, especially young people to be the best version of themselves. She loves the concept of team, and making team feel like family. All people need a team and a group to belong to support their mental health!

TERESA GORDON is a committed servant, educator, and advocate for youth and families whose professional career as a Licensed School Psychologist spans more than twenty-five years. She holds a Master of Science degree in School Psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Sociology from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Mrs. Gordon has also received extensive graduate level training in Counseling and is a certified Instructor in Youth Mental Health First Aid and Restorative Practices. 

Over the years, Mrs. Gordon has delivered psychoeducational services to students of all ages and demographics across a diverse range of public schools, as well as in private practice. As an educational leader, Mrs. Gordon has developed and taught numerous courses, led various mental health and educational initiatives, and provided training and consultative services to a myriad of parents, businesses, community agencies, and churches.  

Teresa Gordon is the blessed wife of more than twenty years and a proud mother to a high school son. Mrs. Gordon is an active member of her church and relies upon her faith in God to guide all her endeavors.   Mrs. Gordon’s greatest desire is to use her God-given abilities in loving service to those standing in the need of hope and healing. If asked to capsulize the view she holds about every person she meets, Mrs. Gordon would simply reply, “You Matter.” 

Mekaila Tucker serves as a secondary school counselor in Alexandria, Virginia where she attends to a caseload of students split between two campuses. She has served in a variety of counseling and teaching roles for the past 6 years and has a heart and passion assisting young people.  Some of her experiences include previously serving as a mental health counselor intern where she utilized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies with children in a Therapeutic Day Treatment program who had ADHD, Autism, anger management, and other mental health issues to alter negative behaviors. In addition she has served and provided support for young people in Nicaragua and families entering the United States as refugees from a variety of countries. She currently counsels students in both individual and small group’s sessions to assist them with issues that affect their social, emotional wellbeing and academics. She attends to crisis responses to assist students with a variety of mental health concerns and makes appropriate referrals to outside mental health providers when necessary. In addition, Mekaila supports students with specialized interventions and services through organizing and conducting 504 accommodation meetings and attendance and input in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. 

Mrs. Tucker earned her Master of Education in School Counseling from Liberty University and is currently working towards earning her License in Professional Counseling (LPC) and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Texas Christian University, with a dual minor in Spanish and Hispanic Studies and History. Mekaila challenges others to overcome the notion that you must be regular, because it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.  

The Pandemic And Mental Health: Impact On Students And Their Families

Posted by The Lighthouse Church - MD on Thursday, May 14, 2020