Mental Health Concerns in Teenagers During the Pandemic
Concerns have been raised over the impact of the pandemic on teenage mental health. It has been suggested that restrictions, school closures and a lack of social interaction have left thousands of teenagers feeling isolated from friends and family. Research by the Mental Health Foundation and Swansea University has found that more than a quarter of teenagers show symptoms of depression or anxiety.
With some form of restrictions and concerns over Covid-19 to remain with us for a while longer, we have to consider how we can support teenage mental health and overcome this ‘secondary pandemic’ of teenage depression.
Please keep reading to learn more about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on teenage mental health, as well as the ways you as a parent or carer can get them back on track to good mental health and happiness.
The Effect of Covid-19
With Covid-19 causing thousands of adults to lose their jobs, financial security and happiness, there’s no surprise less focus has been placed on teenage mental health. Just like younger children, teenagers are often expected to never know the effects of bad mental health. However, just like their parents and older family, teenagers are at risk of facing mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
A lack of regular schooling, socialisation and worries over exams are just some of the things affecting teenage mental health at the moment. With no consistency in how schooling is being provided during lockdowns, many teenagers face inadequate support from schools and a change to their daily structure, which affects their mental health. Similarly, teenagers in their upper high school years now have worries around their GCSEs and how they will be graded, with last year’s failures in this area to spur on their fears.
As a result, teenagers are facing mental health issues like depression and anxiety, which, if not addressed, can lead to even more severe long-term mental health issues. Adults need to recognise the importance of supporting mental health and addressing issues as they arise rather than writing them off as a ‘bad mood’ or even ‘laziness’.
Teenagers will be feeling very isolated from their friends at the moment. With a lack of in-person schooling to allow catch-ups, and restrictions meaning they can’t meet up outside of school, friends rely heavily on social media and devices to talk. Many teenagers may already have stopped talking with friends as regularly as they do because of the onset of depression.
Encourage your teenager to get back in contact with friends and family. Weekly Zoom catch-ups, quizzes and even at-home online parties can get them laughing and having fun with their closest once again. Work your way up to this with a mostly isolated teenager by encouraging more time spent with the family. Perhaps host a weekly film night, go out on family walks, or get the family together to support one another during school and work time.
Life without structure can be hectic and cause havoc on our mental health. Regular schoolings help teenagers find structure, with the same wake-up time and bedtime five nights a week. They can face less stress knowing they have set times throughout the day to eat, work and have some free time.
With lockdown removing this regular schedule for many teenagers, you need to support your child and help them find their stability once again. If online school has a standard start time, make sure your child gets up as they would with in-person school, has breakfast and prepares themselves for the day. If they are being provided with work to complete at home, encourage them to wake up and start it when school would usually begin rather than staying in bed all morning.
If you are trying to support your depressed teenager but are finding it hard, you don’t have to struggle alone. Seek outside support, such as therapy, to help your teenager come to terms with their mental health and understand how they can overcome their depression or anxiety.
Therapy is a safe space, and I have experience working with teenagers who feel like they don’t want to tell anyone their feelings. By helping them understand how their mind works and working together to get to the root of their mental health issues, I can help them beat down negativity and look to a brighter future.
If you are interested in learning more about the services I provide for a wide range of clients, including teenagers and young children, please contact me today. Also, please take a look at my website for more information on my experience, qualifications and passion for supporting, which drives me in this career. I am dedicated to supporting the mental health journey for all my clients, no matter what concerns them.