By Jessica Shrieve, LPC
Teens and Anxiety – There is no doubt, COVID-19 has had an impact on everyone. Rather it be the loss of a loved one, a change in career or lifestyle, or spending more time at home, for many anxiety is at an all time high. Adolescence is an age group where we have seen a significant increase in mental health challenges, especially anxiety. Teenagers have gone through a year and a half of virtual schooling or a combination of virtual and in person. This has led to such a change in the way teenagers interact with each other, and has taken away some of their opportunities to grow through social interactions with others.
In returning to attending school and extra curricular activities in person, many teens have been faced with anxiety they may not have experienced before. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including: lowered self esteem as a result of quarantine, relearning to interact face to face rather than through devices, and all of this coupled with the difficulties they faced before COVID even happened. There are also older teenagers entering college, after their high school years ended in virtual learning, who may struggle to find their stride in maintaining a regular schedule and managing high volumes of homework. All of this is happening while parents are trying hard to transition back to working in an office and being home less. These circumstances coupled together can leave teenagers and young adults struggling, and parents with too little time and energy left to guide them.
Now is the time to find a safe place for teens to discuss the difficulties they face and to receive some guidance in how to maintain a healthy mental state. Teens can learn to manage their time, regulate their emotions, work towards a higher self esteem and work on having a healthy social life. Teenagers who learn to manage stressful situations will become adults who are armed to find balance as well.