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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.”

-Anonymous


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.”
-Anonymous

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, decreased social activity, uncertainty of the future, and much more.


Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. Adolescents with inadequate information about quarantine measures and why they’re beneficial have been found to have more anxiety than those who do. Thus, it is very vital that children are communicated with about the pandemic whether through their parents, the educational system or both.


While the understanding of the pandemic continues to grow, its long-term mental health impacts on adolescents as well as all individuals are yet to be fully determined. If you are interested in finding ways to prevent Covid-19 from affecting your mental health, be sure to check out the following page for some suggestions.



How to Prevent Covid-19 From Affecting Your Mental Health

Covid-19 can pose a very detrimental effect on one’s mental health. If you would like to find ways to prevent this from happening to you, please consider using the methods listed below.


  • Limit the frequency of your updates on the status of Covid-19

Although this may at first, appear to be harmful, if you find yourself feeling depressed over negative Covid-19 updates, try disabling excess notifications from news sites for a short time.

  • Practice Social Media Self-Discipline

Consider disabling social media to filter through incessant Covid-19 chatter so you can focus more on yourself.

  • Only Read Covid-19 Updates From Trusted Sources

Use a select few Covid-19 sources that you trust and stick with them: Misinformation can be a very large issue when it comes to Coronavirus. Try to make sure that the information you are receiving comes from a select few sources that you trust.

  • Try Your Best to Go Outside More

Stay connected to nature and go outside. Fresh air and sunshine is vital to one’s health and wellbeing. You can do anything you would like anywhere from taking a short walk to riding your bike around the neighborhood.



Sources:

Personal Mental Health Stories Source:

All first-hand personal accounts in this article are derived from the “hocomonumental” mental health instagram page linked below: https://www.instagram.com/hocomonumental/

Other Sources:

https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/05/11/covid-19-and-adolescents/

https://www.cureus.com/articles/38703-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-mental-health-of-children-and-adolescents

(All image sources have been linked to each respective image).

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