OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — Since the pandemic began two years ago, the United States has been facing a mental health crisis.

With the isolation, grief, and anxiety that came as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, many are struggling to cope with their mental health, especially children.

May 1 marks the beginning of children’s mental health awareness week, which raises awareness to promote better mental health for children.

“We all have different ways of how we cope and how we deal with life around us and COVID definitely brought out a lot of things that people didn’t really notice about themselves,” Ozark City Schools Mental Health Services Coordinator, Laura Bruce said. “So we want to shed light on the resources that are available.”

The first week in May is not only meant to shine a light on the importance of good mental health, but also as an opportunity for parents to learn how to spot when their child is struggling.

“You should definitely look for how much time your child is spending by themselves,” Bruce said. “Be aware they shouldn’t be locked up in their room just on their phone all day or all weekend. Check in with your child. Do things with your child. We take for granted that our child is fine. Ask them how are you doing.”

According to Bruce, not addressing a child’s mental health early on could lead to consequences in the future.

“They won’t know how to deal with things that we might consider simple,” Bruce said. “They won’t take rejection well, they won’t know how to cope with certain things. Everything that we have to deal with in life, from paying our bills to going to the store will irritate a child who is not taking care of themselves mentally.”

In light of children’s mental health awareness week, Ozark City Schools is teaming up with 30 agencies to host the Aware Fair on the Square.

This is an opportunity for the people of the Wiregrass to become more aware of the resources available when it comes to mental health. That event will be Saturday, May 7 in downtown Ozark from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.