AS the school year and the coronavirus pandemic continues, educators say there's been an increase in anxiety and depression among high schoolers.
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This year has been like no other with COVID-19 cases forcing the closure of some schools, while others continued and students were left with uncertainty.
NSW Secondary Principals Council president Craig Petersen it has been a very difficult year and many students are feeling the side effects.
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"There's definitely been an increase in depression, anxiety and diagnosis of mental health issues," he said.
Mr Petersen said learning from home was not an equal playing field, with some students struggling to access technology, while connectivity was an issue for others.
"We had a significant number of kids who didn't do anything during that work from home period," he said.
For many students, peer groups changed, friendships were lost and new ones were established while students were at home learning.
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The impacts of that are still there for some students.
"We get a lot of that at the beginning of the school year with kids acting out, in some ways it's like reestablishing the pecking order when students returned to class," Mr Petersen said.
"Kids had a long time at home on social media.
"There were kids who were really unsettled and really acting out.
"Some of our HSC kids were reluctant to come back to school because they were getting through more more content at home."
While schools across the Central West might be open, many extra-curricular activities have been banned and formals, dances and graduations cancelled for 2020 in a bid curb the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Petersen said all of this is having an impact.
"We've certainly seen an increase in terms of mental health," he said.
"Kids are really receptive to consistency, to predictability, to routine."
Meanwhile, the NSW Education Standards Authority has launched a Stay Healthy During the HSC portal for students.
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