GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — All week long, NBC and the Today Show have been talking to high schoolers about the stress and pressure of the pandemic.
A grandmother in Gastonia is now sharing her own experience, raising her high-school-aged granddaughter alone.
She said this pandemic has been so stressful that it nearly cost her granddaughter her life.
Her granddaughter’s mental health is so fragile right now that we’re not identifying this grandmother. We don’t want to do anything that could make the situation worse, but the grandmother said she has to speak up because no one is talking about kids like hers.
"I am a grandmother, a retired school teacher, raising my granddaughter," the grandmother told WCNC Charlotte.
Life for this Gaston County grandmother, raising her 15-year-old granddaughter alone, was tough enough pre-pandemic.
"It’s just she and I here and I’m 68 and she’s 15 and I’m not really cool anymore," the grandmother said.
But at least there was school and the opportunity to make new friends in a new high school. Then COVID-19 hit.
"She’s felt very alienated, very alone and overwhelmed," the grandmother said.
Classes online proved impossible for the 10th grader who struggled with ADHD. The former teacher, couldn’t even help in her own area of expertise.
"I went online to try to help her and I couldn’t do it. I was failing the class," the grandmother said. "I was so frustrated and upset that I threw the notebook across the room and said forget this, it’s too hard."
The isolation and the failure were too much for her granddaughter to take.
"She felt like a failure, and tried to take her own life," she said.
The teen spent 5 days in the hospital. They even had to temporarily stop the stress of remote learning—doctor’s orders.
"It’s been all I can do to keep my head above water and to keep my granddaughter alive," the grandmother told WCNC Charlotte.
This grandmother said stories like theirs aren’t being talked about enough.
"Nobody’s addressing the children that are average or below average or the special needs children," she said.
Her granddaughter has a counselor, and someone in her corner, but this grandmother worries about all the other kids who don’t.
"I’m worried about the lost children, that’s who they are," the grandmother said. "And nobody’s going to check on them that I’m aware of, they’re not coming to check here at my house, they’re not even making a phone call or returning a phone call. and I’m angry about it. I’m very angry about it."
So she shares a story about the struggles in the shadows, so we can all see what’s at stake.
These children are our future of tomorrow and we’ve got to take care of them," she said.