Teen Mental Health Vs. Quarantine

As this pandemic shakes the nation, teens suddenly have to adjust from spending a majority of their time at school to a majority of their time at home. For some students, this is the break they have been needing; extra time to sleep and a quiet space to focus on their school. Other students, the lack of busyness and distraction can lead to a decline  in the quality of their mental health.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  , in the U.S, approximately 1.9 million teens have depression. Along with that, 4.4 million are diagnosed with anxiety, following with a 4.5 million diagnosed with behavior problems.  And these stats are before the pandemic even started.  Looking at that number, it’s clearly concerning, especially due to the fact that we are all contained to one area with our families, whom we may not all get along with. 

Lauren Uhl, a junior at RHS, said. “I think my mental health has gotten a lot better since this break because I feel less stressed due to our teachers giving us more time to do our assignments. It’s more spread out. I think being busy can cause more stress because you are on a schedule and if it’s multiple things it can be stressful. I’ve been using quarantine to my benefit, I can focus on myself and take my time on things.”

With us being locked down for a bit over a month, some students, unlike Uhl, find this worse for their mental health. WIth the lack of activity, jobs, and school being shut down, some students have lost their ‘distractions’, such as school and sports.  I can personally vouch for this.

I personally struggle with depression. Being on medication and writing helps, but the main part of getting through it for me, especially in the winter, is staying busy. I was on the swim team and volunteered and worked to fill all my time after school, and without having much free time, equaled not having much time to think. As we got into spring, the pandemic started and before we knew it we were out of school and I was fresh out of distractions. 

It’s been a struggle from going to having all my time filled to doing nothing. It’s more stressful for me because I’m alone with myself more, which is okay for short periods of time but over long periods I dive too deep into my own head. It feels harder now to even do little things, and staring at a computer screen too long makes me zone out heavily. 

I know I’m not the only one struggling with this. 

RHS sophomore Matthew Romaman stated “I feel that quarantine has been good towards dome aspects of my mental health, like sleep and recovery. But other aspects are hurt, like social ones because I can’t see my friends.”

 It’s all scary because none of us have experienced this before, but within that, there’s comfort. We are all going through the same moment of history, and even though it affects individuals differently, we are all barreling through it together. All we can do is remain as calm and as positive as we can, and do the most we can to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy. Reach out to a trusted adult/counselor if you need any help.