Teen Mental Health and the Pandemic

Teen Mental Health and the Pandemic

The ongoing stress, fear, grief, isolation and uncertainty created by the pandemic can wear anyone down, but many teens have had an especially tough time coping emotionally. In a recent WebMD poll, researchers found that 46% of 977 parents of teens said their child has shown signs of a new or worsening mental health condition since the start of the pandemic.

Teen depression during the pandemic is associated with teens’ own fears and uncertainties, as well as high levels of parental stress. Many teens may feel frustrated, anxious and disconnected due to social distancing and missing usual social outlets, like sports, extracurricular activities and hanging out with friends. Feeling depressed, hopeless, anxious, and angry may be signs they could benefit from more support. They may try to hide their struggles because of fear, shame, or a sense of responsibility to avoid burdening others.

Throughout the pandemic JCFS Response for Teens has served the mental health needs of young people through telehealth services, individual, family, and group therapy, and online support groups. “We are committed to educating parents and professionals to listen and respond when young people are in crisis,” says Sara Manewith, director of JCFS Response for Teens. “Our trained therapists and mental health clinicians specialize in working with tweens, teens, and college-age young adults and their families, and really understand the issues they may be dealing with.”

For example, Response for Teens community education manager Lisa Erhlich developed “Living and Loving Your Quaranteenager,” a program designed during the pandemic to help parents and caregivers find balance between empowering young people and supporting them as they adapted to school, socializing, relationships, screen time, boredom, and the family that doesn’t always get it. “For many young people and their families, making a connection with others or talking to a counselor can be a life-changing experience,” Lisa adds.

To connect with a therapist, or to access services and resources, call 855.275.5237.