Stress levels in this population have skyrocketed during the pandemic
The pandemic has affected us all in different ways, but a particularly sensitive subgroup has been young people. The lack of school and structure, which may have been fun in the first few months of the pandemic, has long since disappeared. Teens are now done with full class schedules and schoolwork that pile on top of all kinds of pandemic problems.
This new generation of teenagers has grown along with social media, an element that has increased social anxiety in people of all ages. However, for teens, social media has played a pivotal role at a suggestible moment in their lives, increasing their anxiety and depression and making them compare themselves to their peers because they believe they are all having a better time than them. It’s the epicenter of FOMO.
In a pandemic, these fears increase tenfold.
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According to a national survey, 46% of parents say their teenagers’ mental health has deteriorated. The CDC reports that the number of 12-17 year olds in emergency rooms for mental health reasons increased 31% in 2020 compared to 2019 numbers.
RELATED: Teens have less time with their friends – and are more lonely than ever
After speaking to experts and going through data, the New York Times reports that the biggest problem teens face, despite being isolated and removed from school, is pressure to meet their goals.
Per the Times: “Almost half of all students said the pressure to do well in school had increased since 2019, and more than half said their overall school-related stress had increased. Grades, workload, time management, lack of sleep, and college anxiety were the most common causes of stress. These findings apply to socio-economically different schools. “
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Many students say their parents maintained their expectations with grades and behaviors throughout the pandemic, ignoring the added stress they face.
RELATED: Teens Struggle with Mental Health Amid COVID-19
When it comes to facing these issues and treating teens, CNN has some helpful tips. “I encourage parents to look for a significant change in their child’s mood or behavior due to fear and concern. Stressed children can present themselves as irritable, avoidant, or even withdrawn. And / or their stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, stomach problems, and insomnia. “
It is recommended that you keep an eye on teenagers’ behavior, noticing if they are quick-tempered, getting angrier than usual, or displaying other behaviors that are out of the ordinary. Speaking, listening, and creating a safe space for teens can help them clear out their feelings and feel safe.