A new study says the COVID pandemic is taking a toll on our collective mental health.
Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published Wednesday. That’s nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
And those with a lower income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be bearing the burden of these symptoms.
When a population experiences something traumatic, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster, researchers usually expect a rise in mental illnesses in the weeks and months following the event.
But the mental health toll of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be far greater than previous mass traumas, says Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University and an author of the study, which was published in the current issue of the American Medical Association journal JAMA Network Open.
The impact for teens can be devastating.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens, but experts are fearing the worst as young adults prepare to face unknown challenges that the return of school may bring – from coping with varying curricula, stressing over grades, and continued social isolation from friends and trusted teachers.
In Raising Global Teens, Dr. Anisha Abraham analyzes key subjects facing today’s teens, in the context of our modern, mobile world. Dr. Abraham shares some real-world examples with practical solutions, drawing on her latest research and personal experiences to help teens thrive in school despite COVID-19 and the eradication of their daily lives.
Some points from the book include:
1. Stop Comparing – Remind your teens that no one is perfect. Everyone is “uneven”, meaning they excel in some areas, but not others, and that is OK.
2. Time Management – Encourage your teen to set goals, prioritize tasks, break large assignments into smaller steps, work for designated time periods and take breaks, and use a reminder system for deadlines.
3. Unwinding – Make sure your teen is taking time to fill their “anti-stress toolbox” with healthy ways to unwind. This could be as simple as talking to trusted friends or watching a funny show.
4. Mind & Body Care – Ensure your teen is getting adequate sleep, eating well, and exercising to regulate mood and energy levels.
5.Resilience – Support your teen during these times of uncertainty and help them to build resilience and get “bounce”
6. Conversations – Have important conversations with teens about challenging topics such as pubertal changes, sexting, vaping, planning for the future and more
7. Signs of Depression & Suicide Risk – Understand warning signs which include: mood swings, withdrawal, poor sleeping or appetite, trouble with memory and concentration, talking or writing about suicide, and giving away belongings.
8. Get Help and Support. Know when and where to get professional support if you believe your teen is depressed or suicidal. Each city, county, state and community have resources, some free, some paid that are available. Don’t wait too long. Do some research online and get help sooner than later. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Mental health is a serious thing to consider especially in this pandemic era. Consider these tips and purchasing Dr. Abraham’s book at Amazon here!
We are all in this together.