The Increased Need for Mental Health Support
A 2022 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that more than one-third of high schoolers reported experiencing poor mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Also, 44% of respondents persistently felt sad or hopeless throughout the year.
These results show that teens’ mental health is a growing concern for parents and healthcare providers. The pandemic-related social and emotional impacts on teens’ mental health are difficult to work through.
Fortunately, healthcare providers can provide support for their teen mental health clients and their families. The following suggestions can help.
Learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect teens’ mental health and how healthcare professionals can help work through the issues.
Psychosocial Effects of the Pandemic on Teens
The rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, and substance-use disorders among teens continue to increase. As a result, the percentage of teens suffering from poor mental health during the pandemic continues to grow.
Some of the main psychosocial effects of the coronavirus include dealing with sickness and death, family stress because of unemployment and financial pressures, and rising rates of domestic violence. The lengthy amounts of time that schools closed during the pandemic caused further isolation for teens. These factors contributed to growing mental health concerns.
Being cut off from peers puts teens at a disadvantage. Peer interaction is a vital part of developing a sense of identity. Loss of academic skills and disengagement from learning also impact this area. Loss of structure and routine has an effect on identity development as well.
Long-Term Effects on Teens’ Mental Health
Reopening schools has provided teens with a sense of normalcy. However, the long-term impact of the pandemic on teens’ mental health is unknown.
Like other age groups, teens likely will experience a greater risk for mental health issues due to the pandemic. As a result, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was launched in July 2022. Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can reach a local crisis center for free and confidential emotional support.
The goals of the 988 Lifeline include building awareness, empowering individuals, and advancing professional best practices for effective crisis intervention. Providing 24/7 access to crisis call centers moves mental health support to behavioral health specialists to help prevent suicide.
Promote Teen Connections
Healthcare professionals can take steps to increase their teen clients’ mental health. For instance, these professionals can encourage their clients to connect with others. Forming connections helps individuals feel like part of a greater whole.
Teens might join family or community events or get together with friends. These activities let people gather in groups to provide support during difficult times.