Teen Mental Health Concerns Spike during Covid


Poster outlining tips about mental health from teenmentalhealth.org Photo Courtesy: Joel Acevedo

Joel Acevedo, Staff Writer

     The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic can put stress on anyone, but teens are one of the many that are having troubles during these times. COVID-19 has created stress and fear causing a serious impact on teens and their mental health. The coronavirus pandemic has completely altered how teens function on a day to day basis. 

     When it comes to mental health, teens are amongst one of the most vulnerable groups. Teenagers’ lives have been completely changed by the coronavirus pandemic. In a matter of hours they have had to transition from classroom learning to online learning. Sports events have been cancelled along with other extracurricular activities. Even special events, such as prom and homecoming, were either cancelled or altered. Teens even lost internships and jobs. This complete change in routine has teens feeling a whirlwind of emotions. 

     Nick Lawrence, senior, described the abrupt stop to his education and social life as “depressing and empty”. He explained that he felt like the pandemic “took away his purpose.” 

     Other teens like senior Michael Simonelli, expressed that the “isolation was torture”.This pandemic has stripped most teens away mentally and has affected from their usual day-to-day schedules. 

     A major problem some parents are facing during the pandemic is determining whether their teen is having the typical “teenage sadness” or actual depression, stemming from the lack of social isolation. The isolation has caused anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts in teens which is alarming. They are missing their normal routines, friends, and the constant worry about whether or not things will go back to normal plays over and over in their minds. 

     Some teens have even complained of physical discomfort such as headaches, stomach pain, and insomnia. Senior Todd Harris, said that “the quarantine kept him up at night and put knots in his stomach.”

     Doctors are also seeing an increase in substance abuse with teens and also an increase in teens seeking therapy. According to med.uth.edu, “64% of teens believed that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the feeling of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and believe COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generations mental health”. 

     Teens can receive help from feeling depressed in different ways. Sometimes just having someone validate their feelings and listen can help. Talking about how they can be open with how they feel and encourage them to stay involved with others can also help. 

     It is important that parents/guardians pay attention to the signs of depression their teen may be displaying. Resources are available such as the CDC’s COVID-19 website, the Disaster Distress Helpline, and even the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

     The coronavirus pandemic has completely turned everyone’s world upside down. It is safe to say that nobody thought COVID-19 would have the extreme negative impact it is having on the entire world. Although teens are resilient, they are also reluctant to discuss tough topics, especially with their parents. It’s important that their voices and behaviors do not go unheard or unseen. We can only hope that COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past sooner rather than later, and that all continue to get through this together.