Dealing with depression and anxiety can be a daily struggle even during the best of times. But in 2020, the added stress of Covid-19 and quarantine are creating a mental health crisis in this country — especially for teens and preteens.
According to a Pew Research study in 2017, 13% of teens 12-17 said that they had had a major depressive episode in the past year. And while it’s still too soon to know the long-term effects of coronavirus on their mental health, one could conclude that the psyche of kids our age is probably suffering as a result of this whole coronavirus chaos.
Recent studies done by the NIH suggests that this prolonged isolation could have major, lasting effects on mental health. This includes symptoms of anxiety and depression, and depending on who you are and your situation during quarantine, you could sustain some real trauma after this whole thing is over.
But there is still hope! WMS Director of School Counseling Services Ms. Kenney says that there are many things people can do to calm you down or make you happy.
For example, make sure to keep on a regular eating and sleeping schedule, which have a big correlation with mental health. When you’re feeling unhappy or overwhelmed, try talking to a trusted friend or family member. There are also breathing exercises (like “square breathing,” where you breath in for 4 counts, hold for 4, and then back out for four) and “comfort items (like a stuffed animal, stone, or stress ball) that can promote wellness and calm.
While there is no simple cure for stress and anxiety, everyone needs to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, so you need to keep at it! Take care of yourself during this hard time, and we’ll get through it together.