The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has affected almost every nation in 2020. Unknown diseases with a bleak prognosis, coupled with a lack of medical and protective equipment, have introduced restrictions on individual liberties. In contrast, the infection by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is rapidly spreading as well. It is a significant threat; therefore, restrictions on individual freedom are mandatory. In this blog, we are discussing a study that reveals how the Covid-19 pandemic is damaging the mental health of teenagers.
A scenario like this can be very stressful for everyone involved. Some individuals, however, may be more vulnerable to the varying consequences of freedom constraints than others. Children and adolescents need special consideration to protect and improve their mental wellbeing while in a crucial developmental stage.
This pandemic’s history has undergone unprecedented shifts in modern world history. The radical alteration of children’s schedules is one of them. They halted learning classes and relocated all children’s programs to their homes. Distance education networks and even television stations have regularly offered classes, or they have been suppressed.
The continuing tension, terror, sadness, loneliness, and confusion brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can wear everyone down. Still, many children and teenagers have had a particularly difficult time dealing with their emotions. Continuously, many households have been split off from family members and caregivers, including grandparents, who may provide major help and support.
The Outbreak’s Influence on Children
As per the news on 15 March 2021, a survey shows that children struggle to cope with their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. The research shows that around 977 parents, equal to 46% of the data pool, said that their children show symptoms of a mental health condition. Furthermore, it has been the same since the start of the outbreak.
A rise in anxiety/worry (36% vs. 19%) or depression/sadness (31% vs. 18%) was identified mostly by parents of teenage girls than parents of teenage boys. On the other hand, girls and boys have significant adverse shifts in their sleep habits—for instance, 24% in girls and 21% in boys.
According to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Survey on Children’s Wellbeing, the most common activities among children are alienation from family (14% vs. 13%) and violent acts (8% vs. 9%). COVID-19 safeguards have kept young people at home, just as they are biologically conditioned to pursue freedom from their families,” said poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed.
“Pandemic-related changes in lifestyle have caused havoc on adolescents’ lives, with many witnessing disturbances to their normal routines,” Freed said in a survey news release. “According to our survey, changes during the pandemic may have had serious mental health effects for some teenagers.”
Reasons for Damage in Mental Health of Teenagers
According to Freed, teen distress during the disease outbreak is triggered by the teen’s fears and difficulties and elevated levels of parental conflict. “While pandemic isolation may be causing new problems for some teenagers, it has worsened ongoing mental health issues for others,” he clarified.
The outbreak, according to three-quarters of parents, has affected their children’s friendships. 64% said their children text, use social media (56%), play online games (43%), and talk on the phone (35%) on a daily or almost regular basis. Some parents also reported that their children catch up with their friends almost every day or once a few days, either indoors (9%) or outdoors (6%).
“Peer groups and social experiences are essential aspects of a child’s development. However, during the pandemic, these options were not there”, says Freed. “As a result of social isolation and the lack of typical social opportunities such as sports, extracurricular activities, and hanging out with friends, many adolescents may feel depressed, nervous, and disconnected.”
COVID-19’s Impact on Daily Life
While three have been limitations on childrens’ school routines and learning, there are restrictions on other aspects. For instance, suppression or complete reduction of physical exercise. Some children may be more subject to the risk of violence than others, and not every household is secure. Although time on screen can be minimized during the quarantine period, internet access without monitoring increases online predators’ susceptibility, attempted fraud, and access to sexually explicit material.
Moreover, there are various positive impacts as well. The engagement of both parents and children in household tasks supports the child’s routine and independence. On the other hand, isolation necessitates more frequent contact between parents and children, including opportunities for play and conflict. But, the negative impacts are like;y to overpower the positive ones.
Adolescents may be upset by events and encounters that they have yet to experience or have restrictions upon. School performance problems, increased frustration, hostility, and regression are all possibilities.
Your Children’s Stress Indicators
Each child or adolescent’s stress and mental health challenges manifest in various ways, but there are some common signs and symptoms.
Young Children Including Infants and Toddlers
They may demonstrate a reversal of skills and developmental milestones. They might also have more issues with:
- Fussiness and irritability, more easily startled and crying, and more difficult to console.
- Difficulty falling asleep and frequently getting up in the middle of the night.
- A feeding problem is indicated by frantic nipping, increased reflux, constipation or loose stools, or new symptoms of stomach pain.
- Separation anxiety manifests itself as clinginess, withdrawal, or a reluctance to explore.
- Tantrums that are more common or serious, like hitting, rage, biting, and other violent behaviors
- They can encounter bedwetting after they’ve been toilet trained
- Needs that are desperately there but don’t seem to be met
- During play, there may be conflict and aggression, as well as themes such as illness and death
Adolescents and Teens
Adolescents may show signs and symptoms of distress such as the following:
- Out of the regular shifts in your children’s attitude, such as constant irritability, feelings of hopelessness or anger, or regular disagreements with friends and family
- Behavioral changes, such as taking a step back from personal relationships. If your usually friendly teen shows no interest in texting or video calling with their friends, it’s cause for alarm.
- Sudden drop of interest in schoolwork and academic effort
- Alertness issues, as well as memory and thought issues
- A lack of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies Did your music-loving boy, for example, suddenly lose interest in playing guitar? Have your aspiring chef’s enthusiasm for cooking and baking waned?
- Having trouble falling or remaining asleep or constantly falling asleep.
- Appetite, weight, or dietary habits changes, such as never starving or unhealthy eating
- Changes in appearance can result from a lack of basic personal hygiene (Within purpose, because many individuals do follow somewhat fewer hygiene practices at home during this time)
- A rise in dangerous or irresponsible conduct, such as the use of drugs or alcohol
- Suicide or death thoughts, or thinking about it
How Can You Support Your Child?
Your physiatrist will give you guidance on how to manage best and encourage your child’s tolerance growth. Some children and teenagers need adequate time and space to speak their minds. To articulate oneself and deal with stress, some people could benefit from gradual talks and other activities besides talking, such as painting or drawing.
Whereas others may feel more at ease in more straightforward conversations or events. They will need to speak with a trusted adult about maintaining social relations safely and their feelings of boredom, loss, and even shame if they have not always maintained healthy physical distancing.
To sum up, if more people receive COVID-19 vaccinations, there is an increasing expectation that the pandemic’s stresses will ease. However, the previous year’s challenges and losses are likely to continue to impact families for some time. Proceed to monitor your child on a constant schedule and check for signs of distress. Also, bear in mind that your pediatrician is here to assist you.