The pandemic has been difficult, especially difficult for teens.  Adolescence is a time for teens to transition from youth to young adulthood. COVID adjustments can lead to teens feeling anxious, depressed, and lonely.  

Below are some indications of mental health issues and tips for teens and parents.

Signs and symptoms that a teen is struggling:

  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Disordered eating 
  • More easily irritated
  • Lashing out and arguing 
  • Increased worrying
  • Panic attacks
  • Loss of interest in things that once brought happiness

Tips for Teens:

  • Find different ways to spent time with friends (e.g., small social distanced gatherings, FaceTime, Zoom study groups, and Zoom movie parties)
  • Limit screen time when possible and spend time outside or doing something that doesn’t require electronics 
  • Take 10-15 minute breaks every 45-90 minutes of studying/homework
  • Eat healthy snacks
  • Avoid excess caffeine and drink more water
  • Practice good sleep hygiene 
  • Avoid illegal substances
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Tips for Parents:

  • Monitor for signs and symptoms above
  • Talk to your teen, ask how they are doing
  • Encourage healthy nutrition, exercise, and sleep
  • Allow safe social contact
  • Allow and encourage breaks throughout the day
  • Encourage teens to talk with teachers when needing academic help
  • Help teens create a schedule for school, sports, appointments, and leisure
  • Seek mental health and medical help for teens when needed
  • Know that school re-opening or the end of the pandemic will not resolve all mental health issues