YAKIMA, WA - Going back to online learning isn't as simple as it seems, this could have be a detriment to children's mental health.

Hopping into the virtual world happened fairly quickly, with a pandemic now going on for more than two years, students were forced into online learning.

Now, for the third time and in some cases fourth time, it is now happening all over again.

So how is this affecting the students?

"For the young people the engagement piece is a big problem, there's a lot of feeling of detachment, feeling of disconnection" said Kathryn Jean Lanthorn-Cárdenas, owner of Lanthorn Counseling & Forensic Evaluation Inc. "For teenagers you get the same thing but their need for peer contact is much greater."

With these constant changes in children's lives, behavioral issues could arise.

"If they develop behaviors, we're talking about young children, that are in reaction from these changes from online to in person back and forth" said Lanthorn-Cárdenas. "If those behaviors are experienced overtime, they can become their go to default behavior."

Giving support to children and young adults is crucial right now in making sure they know they have someone to lean on, but when someone doesn't have that support...

"They're likely to experience greater levels of depressive and anxious symptoms" said Lanthorn-Cárdenas . "Thoughts of harming themselves, thoughts of suicide."

So is there a solution?

"The parents really are such an important component in modeling 'how do you cope with stress' and modeling that parents are managing even if they're inside really struggling" said Lanthorn-Cárdenas.

She also said that having those peer interactions whether it be on zoom, a phone call or meeting up can very much help.

Lastly, children also want to feel included with the people they are going to spend the most time with.

"The people that are impacted by kids being home and online again to sit down and say 'okay' in the most positive way they can" said Lanthorn-Cárdenas. "This is what we've got, tell me what you need, tell me what your concerns are, tell me what we can do to make this easier to get through this."

If parents are struggling to find ways to help their kids with depression or anxiety or you are looking for advise you can call the local crisis hotline, 509-575-4200.