Teens vs The Pandemic

Lei Rodriguez

This picture represents the statistics of how the pandemic has affected teens’ mental health.

Everyday teens struggle with mental health issues. Wisconsin is ranked number 15 of highest rates of mental health issues in America. However a national poll by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital says that since the pandemic some teens have a new or worsening mental health condition. Signs a teen is struggling with mental health are excessive irritability, becoming easily fatigued,  having trouble with concentration, and the most common thoughts of suicide.

The main factor in teens’ new or worsening mental health condition is loneliness. The National poll said that Covid has affected Three in four teens’ social interactions. Due to social distancing and the closing down of schools teens can not interact/talk properly to each other. A student from SPASH, Avery Tetzloff said “I got way too used to solitude, I usually like going and hanging out with friends. But now my brain just makes excuses to not hang out with people.” This shows  how the pandemic has affected her and how loneliness plays a huge role in teens mental health. SPASH counselor, Jennifer Greenwood said, “There have been negative effects, for example, isolation. Teens get really lonely at home because they can’t socially interact with other students. And some kids are at home by themselves, and have to take care of younger siblings, so they never have time for themselves. It takes a social emotional toll.”

School has also played a huge role. Teens’ bodies aren’t used to being at school for eight hours a day, and on top of that teens now have school work to worry about, which can be stressful.  SPASH counselor Jennifer Greenwood, said some signs she  notices in struggling students are “The main sign I see is avoidance. They will skip class, sleep in class, hangout in the commons. Just so that they don’t have to deal with everything.” This shows how isolation from their peers has affected them greatly, and how it is affecting them at school.

Some ways of coping can be talking to someone you trust or even getting some professional help. With some teens, open communication has helped improve their mental health. Taking some time for themselves , having some creativity time or listening to music, has also helped teens improve their mental health. Child experts really emphasize how important sleep is for teens. That is why sleep hygiene is important to teens’ mental health, especially when under stress.