Mental health in Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools during the COVID-19 crisis: Literature review and survey suggesting multi-tiered support systems

Main Article Content

Dan Li Yueqi Li Ziyi Zheng Xin Zhou Danielle Castro Sten H. Vermund Marie A. Brault


Background: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, educational systems worldwide were disrupted. Students, educators, and parents faced challenges from the rapid switch to distance learning with attendant social isolation and limited teacher or peer interaction, along with excessive demand and worries from the lasting pandemic. It exacerbated preexisting mental health crises within school communities. Amidst such challenges, psychiatrists prescribed tailored medication regimens to manage individual mental health in the time of crisis, ensuring continuity of care and support for those affected.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted to identify studies of Kindergarten to 12th grade school members' mental health and mental health support programs offered by schools and institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also conducted a survey to examine mental health concerns faced by grade 6 to 12 teachers, school staff, children, and parents in Connecticut, United States.

Results: While publication bias may be extant, we found well-documented studies of exacerbation and the emergence of mental health problems among parents, teaching staff, and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on our comprehensive review of relevant literature and analysis of survey results, we have identified four key themes pertaining to the mental health challenges encountered by parents, teaching and non-teaching staff, and students in Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12). Moreover, upon examining pertinent mental health interventions and models, we have identified the multi-tiered systems of support as an effective approach to address these difficulties, with explanations on how to utilize the framework during a crisis. This system is designed with tiers that provide various levels of interventions aimed at helping schools effectively manage the psychological well-being of their members during a crisis.

Conclusions: Drawing on findings from literature reviews and surveys, this study sheds light on the difficulties surrounding mental health in schools during times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, it puts forward a recommendation for employing multi-tiered support strategies to address these challenges and promote psychological well-being within educational settings amidst crisis. By adopting a multi-tiered systems of support framework that integrates various interventions tailored to individual needs, schools can effectively manage mental health concerns among their members. The study underscores the critical role of psychiatry in providing specialized care and medication management to support mental health in educational environments, particularly during times of crisis, with important implications to address the urgent mental health demands in Kindergarten to 12th grade schools.

Keywords: COVID-19, K-12 Schools, Mental Health, Crisis, Pandemic, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Article Details

How to Cite
LI, Dan et al. Mental health in Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools during the COVID-19 crisis: Literature review and survey suggesting multi-tiered support systems. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 4, apr. 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 may 2024. doi:
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