AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- As the number of mass shootings in the U.S. continues to rise, so does the amount of active shooter drills in schools. 95 percent of schools have protocols in place and conduct drills periodically throughout the year.

With the continued increase in school shootings, it is vital that schools have a plan of action in place in case of an active shooter. But studies show some kids are reporting an increase in anxiety and depression after a drill.

There have been more that 20 school shootings in the U.S. since January 1st, the most deadly happening at the Covenant School in Nashville where 6 people were killed.

Dr. Dale Peeples, a Child Psychiatrist at Augusta University, said these shootings and the measure to prepare school staff and students is hard on kids’ mental health.

“Whenever these unfortunate events come into people’s awareness when there is another school shooting, then it’s pretty common that I’m talking to kids, talking to families and it is an immediate concern,” explained Dr. Peeples.

A recent study shows that after an active shooter drill, students report a 42 percent increase in anxiety and a 39 percent increase in depression. Dr. Peeples tells NewsChannel 6 that older kids are not as affected by the active shooter drills themselves.

“I think it’s because even though those actual events aren’t happening in those schools, in their schools, they’re still kind of having experiences with the threats. People on social media are posting things that are either meant as a threat or get interpreted as a threat.”

While teens aren’t as worried, younger kids are more frightened when they experience active shooter drills.

“Their ability to differentiate, is this real? Is this pretend? That’s limited. Also their ability to really understand that this is preparing for an unlikely event,” said Dr. Peeples.

While students are experiencing some stress, anxiety, and depression relating to active shooter drills, Dr. Peeples believes there is some good news.

“That said, there’s not really evidence that this is doing long term damage to most kids.”

Dr. Peeples also said that student anxiety because of active shooter drills can be decreased. Best practices advise schools to get parental permission and allow students to opt out if necessary.