Teens struggle with isolation, disappointment, and stress. Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Pandemic is a stress mess for teens

It’s no shocker that mental health has taken a turn for the worse within the past few months. We talk about it more and more in our schools and homes, but one thing has become apparent: this year has been a stress mess. 

This year saw a dramatic increase of admissions into psychiatric wards, suicides, and mental health diagnosis. With the combination of disease and unemployment, it’s clear to see how this has affected the adult world. But how about for us teens?

We can all agree that life was stressful enough before the pandemic, and it felt like a break when everything closed down in March, 2020. However, that was just the calm before the storm; lockdown would last much longer than we thought. We had to keep up with academics, responsibilities around the house, working for some of us, and all of a sudden, we were hit with this massive wave of “oh no.”

First there were concerns about the virus. People were wondering how this would affect them on an international scale – would they have to replan that vacation that they were hoping so long for? Then it started to spread. Not just the virus, but the fear. Cases started popping up all around the world, and eventually it came here  to Connecticut.

The second week of March was supposed to be an exciting one for me, as well as many others. It would be the week that the Class of 2020 would take their final bow on the stage of Canton High School after performing the show we had longed for so long: “Anything Goes.”  We were so close. Just one more day and we’d be good to go –

and then Friday, March 13 came, when we were all told to gather our things and go. Many of us thought that the lockdown would be over shortly;  the two week break would elapse and we’d be back. However, we all had the chilling thought: “this is just the beginning.”

“Anything Goes” would not be the only loss for the seniors. It was only a sliver of the cake that would be thrown away. No prom. No graduation. No celebration. There would be no final bow. They were so close. Just one more quarter and they would have been good to go.

Then there were also the rest of us. Summer had been ruined. Cancellations left, right, and center. We were stuck in our houses with our families. Wonderful. No sports for us to play. Nothing to do. For me, the end of the school year was easier than the rest because I got to pace myself and didn’t have to wake up at the usual time. However, I know it was the exact opposite for some others. The individual work without instruction was very difficult to manage.

Even though teens have experienced stress during the pandemic, it has been worse for the adults: unemployment, debt, and even for those who are still employed, the uncertainty of wondering how and when can life ever be the same.

That is the question that we must continue to ask ourselves as we enter 2021. We can get through this. Stay positive, and stay healthy.


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