Let’s be honest: COVID-19 is hard on everyone, but it’s particularly hard on teenagers. It has affected every aspect of our lives. School is different, sports are different, work is different, friendships are different. The list goes on and on. As Pediatrician Rebekah Fenton said in a recent Washington Post column, “The teens of the pandemic are living through a significant and prolonged stress that most adults have never known.”
Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that teens are struggling with mental health issues. As a result, other aspects of health are suffering. Dr. Fenton says that some of her teen patients “have gained or lost significant weight, in search of comfort or control. Some who had manageable levels of anxiety before the pandemic have worsening symptoms. Isolation precipitates depression or suicidal ideation. More than younger children, adolescents notice and are affected by their parents’ emotions, including financial pressure.”
You should take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical health. Mental health illnesses affect the ability to handle daily activities. This means that those who are having a harder time may experience panic attacks, start having a harder time focusing, start sleeping more, start having a hard time completing assignments which make cause in grades plummeting, start having trouble getting out of bed or taking showers and even more obstacles.
Studies around the world are already showing how teenagers’ mental health is suffering during COVID-19, but we wanted to know how it is affecting you, our readers.
The Hyphen sent out a survey to a group of students that have chosen to remain anonymous. When asked how their mental health was before COVID-19, 80% said they were happy or in a good state of mind. Since the pandemic started, 60% of respondents said that their mental health has dropped or they are having a harder time. One student said, ”Corona has affected my mental health by allowing me to have more extra time on my phone, which leads to being on social media, or anything relevant to that, which leads to comparing myself to others way too much. It has also caused me to overthink and worry about things I should not be.”
This is a rough time for all of us. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out. This is not something you should have to go through alone. Below are hotlines if you are not comfortable talking with a
parent or counselor.
By Rachel Lowe