The Current State of Adolescent's Mental Health During Covid-19

Written by Danielle Okotcha

The Effects of Covid-19 On Adolescents:

Many students, especially those in their teen years, have been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although to some, adolescents may appear to be less at risk for severe Covid-19 symptoms, the pandemic has significantly disrupted their lives in other regards. Below is a first-hand statement made by a teenager about their current state of mental health during the pandemic:

“Covid-19 has definitely plummeted my mental health even as of right now, however, I know deep down that it would be far worse if I was not receiving the help that I need. Upon receiving a Neuropsychological analysis in 9th grade, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety disorder and a Moderate to Severe Depressive Disorder… My serotonin levels plummeted to an extent that it was physically and mentally exhausting to get out of bed in the morning. I would sleep for 12+ hours a day until I began seeing a psychiatrist, who was able to affirm my diagnoses and prescribe me to an antidepressant and anxiety reducer. I also began seeing a therapist weekly to discuss my feelings about my day-to-day life, something I still do in times of Covid with tele-doc appointments.”


Studies On the Effects of Covid-19 On Mental Health:

The results of various studies support the view that Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on individual’s mental health. In a KFF Tracking Poll conducted around mid-July, 53% of people surveyed reported that their mental health had been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over Covid-19 compared to the mere 32% reported in March (when the question was first asked). Below is another account of an adolescent’s mental health state during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I struggle like many others with bad mental health days. Somedays I am full of energy and want to go out with friends/family, exercise, do chores, etc, and then other days I can’t even get out of bed because it’s just too draining to me and I will spend all day crying. Sometimes I am called lazy and often questioned by my family why I never come out of my room, and I honestly can not tell them why because I don’t even understand why myself. If I could put it in words, it’s like you’re running a marathon and you see the finish line from a distance, you get relieved and feel accomplished to be close to the end; then a glass wall is put up just three feet in front of the finish line and you’re stuck there just staring at the unfinished check point… I am grateful to have reliable friends/family that I can openly talk about my mental health problems with but it just seems like I’ll be a burden and I don’t want to push anyone away.”

An Overview of Covid’s Impact On Adolescents’ Mental Health:

The pandemic has imposed an immense amount of mental health stressors on individuals. Many adolescents that are exposed to these stressors can develop panic attacks, depression, or anxiety. Traumatic events of loved ones dying from or being afflicted by Covid-19 can be quite detrimental to one’s mental health (as well as thoughts about one’s self dying from the virus. There are many other factors that have affected adolescents mental health during the Covid-19 epidemic including but not limited to: the transition from distance learning, travel restrictions that prevent people from seeing their loved ones, financial issues due to parents losing their jobs, decr