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COVID-19’s Assault on Mental Health

March 10, 2021

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https://www.councilonrecovery.org/how-covid-19-is-affecting-teens-mental-health/

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The pandemic came out of nowhere and led to nations being put into quarantine all over the world. Not only did the coronavirus have an impact on a person’s physical health, but also on a person’s mental health. Many teens were faced with something they had never dealt with before: isolation.

As teens were faced with being isolated from the world, it brought on feelings that some had never experienced before. Depression and anxiety were already major issues for some teens. However, the pandemic brought this upon many who had never faced it before. According to the Psychiatric Times, a study on adolescents in Spain and in Italy found that nearly 86% of parents reported changes in their children’s emotions and behaviors during the quarantine. The most noticed changes were loneliness (31.3%), uneasiness (30.4%), and worries (30.1%). Another study done by the Rox Institute stated that, ¨80% of adolescent girls feel ‘more lonely and isolated than before [the pandemic].’¨

These studies show that being a teen during this pandemic has been far from easy. However, this is not something that people should be scared to talk about or feel alone in.

While some may have taken away something positive from being in quarantine, many were affected negatively. When asked if Covid-19 had a positive or a negative impact on her mental health, FCHS junior Emma Poulin said, ¨It definitely has had a negative impact. Since Covid began, I have been isolated from friends and family, and have not able to go out freely for the entire year and it has taken a huge toll on my mental health.¨

Senior Aiden Matula has a mixed view. ¨I would say both, because in March when [the shutdown] started, everyone thought it was a break, which was exciting. But when we were told we weren’t going back it isolated everyone and at that time it became very lonely.” He added that eventually he began to see it “as a time I was able to focus on myself, which helped me gain a positive perspective.¨

Although the virus has had a tremendously negative impact on society, many teens have found different ways to cope or to kill time during quarantine. ¨Honestly, I’m still struggling to cope with it, but some things I’ve found helpful are yoga, meditation, and drawing. You’d be surprised how much better you feel after breathing for 15 minutes,” said sophomore Ella Kearney.

“Another thing that has really helped me is staying off my phone as much as possible. In a time where we pretty much live through a computer screen, it can get really draining just looking at one for too long, so I try to limit my screen time when we are not attending school,¨ she added.

As for Poulin, she said she has handled the isolation during the pandemic “by reminding myself that I am doing what’s right and keeping people safe by isolating myself.¨

Matula has this advice: “If you are feeling sad, think about the things that you are grateful for that others may not be as fortunate enough to have, and do not completely shut out everything bad that happens because that is unhealthy…Instead, accept that not everyday will be good and to think about the positives.”

While the past year has caused many to experience a rollercoaster of emotions, teens who are still growing and learning may find it particularly important to allow themselves to accept and work through their emotions instead of dwelling on them, as well as to remember, whenever possible, to look for those silver linings in the clouds.

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