Did anyone expect the mental health of teens to stay intact during what is, in essence, an experimental type of solitary confinement?
There is no price too high to prevent the spread of the deathly coronavirus – the ultimate disease.
Nearly half of parents reported their teenagers faced new or worsening mental health conditions since the pandemic began, a new poll has found.
A survey of 977 parents with children ages 13 to 18 analyzed teen mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and aggressive behavior during the pandemic. The national poll, conducted by Ipsos for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan Medical School, looked at how parents were helping teens cope and whether they believed their strategies were successful.
The restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 have kept teens at home “at the age they were primed to seek independence from their families,” said poll co-director Dr. Gary Freed, who is the Percy and Mary Murphy professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan.
The pandemic has severely disrupted their lives, Freed said, pointing to the cancellation of school activities and the inability to hang out with friends due to social distancing.
Not surprisingly, many teens are feeling “frustrated, anxious and disconnected” as a result.
Three in four parents surveyed said Covid-19 had negatively impacted their teens’ ability to socialize with their friends nearly every day.
Significantly, the parents of teen girls reported higher levels of depression and anxiety than the parents of teen boys — 31% of teen girls experienced depression compared to 18% of teen boys, while 36% of teen girls faced anxiety versus 19% of teen boys.
Social media could be to blame for teens’ anxiety and depression, said Stephanie Clarke, psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.
Teens can get the impression “of people’s lives being perfect” on social media, she said, which is one of their main communication methods during the pandemic.
It is an absurd negative feedback loop. They feel more miserable the more time they spend on social media, while trying their best to upload pictures and videos that portray their lives as great in an attempt to belong.
This, in turn, makes other teenagers feel more miserable because they — subconsciously or not — compare themselves and their lives to what they see in their peers’ pictures.
But what are kids supposed to do though? They’re forced to stay home. They’re not allowed to meet with friends and do teenager stuff.
It is a nightmare.