When you think of the impact of the coronavirus, you might think about those who are in vulnerable populations, like the elderly or immunocompromised. You may even think of business owners or unemployed workers. But most people don’t even consider the impact the coronavirus is having on our teens.
Here are five mental health impacts on teens resulting from the coronavirus.
Studies have shown a strong correlation between anxiety and drug addiction, and we know that anxiety is running rampant in our society today. Just because most teens aren’t in high-risk groups doesn’t mean they’re immune to stress.
Many teenagers are worried about their parents’ health and employment, and they’re stressed out about missing the final months of school, which includes things like prom and graduation.
And that stress could lead them towards substance abuse, especially if they see their parents self-medicating with alcohol.
We don’t yet know how COVID-19 will impact suicide rates, but we do know that rates increase in times of intense stress and pressure as we’re seeing now. And with so many teens feeling isolated without any real end in sight, suicide is a top concern for the teenage population.
If you’re a parent of a teenager, keep an open dialogue about his or her mental health and involve a professional if you feel it’s necessary. Many mental health professionals are offering virtual sessions with their patients, so you don’t even have to leave the house. And be sure to let your child know about the suicide hotline. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, they can call helplines that can help walk them back to safety.
We’ve already covered the many reasons why teens are feeling more anxious and on edge during this pandemic. And with all the changes and uncertainty as they’re about to start college or embark on their careers becoming adults themselves, it’s a lot to take in.
Anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when it gets to be chronic. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. But when teens are constantly stressed, the body goes into a constant state of stress, it can have health implications.
Since February the number of people screening for moderate to severe depression in a national health assessment surged by 18,000 people since the prior month. We can only expect these numbers will have increased as the isolation continued through May. And this is concerning for the teenage population who are already at risk for developing depression.
If you’re a parent of a teen during this pandemic, do what you can to stay connected and keep them engaged. If you notice any changes in their behavior, talk to them about how they are handling all the stress. You may want to suggest some natural remedies for anxiety or talk to a mental health professional about what’s going on. Ultimately, let your child know that they are not alone through this struggle.
With a little luck and a lot of care, we can all get through this together.