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Mental Health Challenges Facing Teens Post-Covid

Post-Covid Challenges for Teens
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone, but especially for teenagers who have faced unprecedented disruptions to their education, social life and mental well-being. Many teens have reported feeling isolated, depressed, anxious and stressed as they cope with the uncertainty and loss caused by the virus. In this blog, we will explore some of the common mental health issues that teens have experienced during the pandemic and how they can seek help and support.

One of the most prevalent mental health issues among teens during the pandemic is depression. According to a survey by Healthline[^1^][1], 43% of high school students said they felt depressed or sad more than half of the time during COVID-19. Depression can manifest as persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness; loss of interest or pleasure in activities; changes in appetite or weight; difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much; fatigue or low energy; trouble concentrating or making decisions; thoughts of death or suicide.

Another common mental health issue among teens during the pandemic is anxiety. According to a study by Stanford University[^2^][2], 31% of high school students reported experiencing more anxiety than before COVID-19. Anxiety can manifest as excessive worry or nervousness about various aspects of life; restlessness or agitation; irritability or mood swings; panic attacks; phobias or fears; obsessive-compulsive behaviors; physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, nausea or dizziness.

Some teens have also faced other mental health challenges during the pandemic such as trauma, grief, abuse and substance use. According to an article by The New York Times[^3^][3], some teens have witnessed family members get sick or die from COVID-19; experienced domestic violence or neglect at home; lost friends or relatives to suicide; turned to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress or boredom.

These mental health issues can have serious consequences for teens' academic performance, physical health and future prospects. Therefore, it is important that teens seek help and support when they are struggling with their emotions. Some ways that teens can improve their mental health during the pandemic are:

- Talk to someone they trust: This could be a parent, sibling, friend, teacher, counselor or therapist. Talking can help teens express their feelings, vent their frustrations and receive comfort and advice.
- Seek professional help: If teens are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders that interfere with their daily functioning, they should consult a doctor or a mental health provider who can diagnose their condition and offer appropriate treatment options such as medication or therapy.
- Practice self-care: Teens should take care of their physical and emotional needs by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep
- exercising regularly, staying hydrated and avoiding drugs and alcohol. Self-care can help teens boost their mood, energy and immunity.
- Stay connected: Teens should maintain contact with their friends and family through phone calls, video chats, social media or other safe means. Social connection can help teens feel less lonely, more supported and more engaged.
- Find healthy coping strategies: Teens should find positive ways to deal with stress and anxiety such as meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, reading, listening to music or engaging in hobbies. These activities can help teens relax, distract themselves from negative thoughts and express themselves creatively.
- Seek information from reliable sources: Teens should avoid misinformation and rumors about COVID-19 that can cause fear and confusion. They should get factual information from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) or their local health authorities. They should also limit their exposure to news and social media that can trigger anxiety or depression.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, but especially for teenagers who have faced many challenges to their mental health. However, by seeking help and support when they need it and taking care of themselves and each other, teens can overcome these challenges and emerge stronger and more resilient.

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