Covid Caused a Mental Health Crisis, Particularly for Teens

First published in June 2021 at


The topic of mental health in America has been a very taboo topic. Usually when the topic is brought to light, the symptoms are written off as angst, laziness or day-to-day mood swings. When in reality, a lot of the time, it’s depression, ADHD/ADD or some sort of mood or personality disorder. Though it’s understandable why this conversation is hard to have; not a lot of people want to feel as though they overlooked their peers. At the end of the day, the conversation is good to have, and is important to take seriously. If not, in the worst case scenario, the conversation will only be had once something bad happens. In this case, something like a pandemic.

The year of 2020 has taken a toll on many adult’s mental health. Since the beginning of 2020, the conversation of mental health has been an increasingly important topic. There has been a noticeable increase in reported anxiety and depression symptoms, suicidal ideation, stress disorder symptoms and substance use. Despite that, there are still mental health professionals that believe that those suffering with these symptoms can get better. Professionals claim that though many adults in America have suffered through a trauma, most did not develop a stress disorder. This has made them come to the conclusion that though many people in American have had a major increase in stress, most symptoms of depression and anxiety can be lessened by American society returning back to normal. Until then, it is recommended that those showing these symptoms focus on keeping in touch with family and friends, maintaining a healthy diet and finding new ways to destress while also avoiding triggering media.

Essential workers are not excluded from the conversation of depleting mental health. Essential workers such as doctors, nurses, factory and grocery store workers are experiencing a burn out as experts have come to call it. With many experiencing this burn out and many essential workers not being able to find help for their increasing mental issues, many have fallen into unhealthy habits to cope with the sudden change of routine. Unhealthy habits include excessive or lack of sleep, increase in alcohol usage and unhealthy eating habits that lead to an increase of weight gain.

Adults aren’t the only ones whose mental health is being negatively impacted by the pandemic. With in-person learning not being an option for many students for such a long time, many students like myself have suffered due to their mental health. Of the 74 school districts willing to complete a survey on their students’ mental health, 74% have reported an increase in poor mental health due to stress. Other than the stressful political climate, a major factor playing into student’s stress is the amount of school work they seem to be receiving. “My school is giving too much work,” one student says. “… even though times are tough for everyone. At first, it was just a break from school, but now all I feel is stress, anxiety and pain.” Many students can agree, the pandemic has been stressful for everyone. Though, specifically for high school seniors, the weight of staying on top of school work, filling out and filing important documents, college applications and acceptance and the seemingly impending doom of graduation is extremely overwhelming for us. And through all these events, there’s the lingering thoughts: when will we be able to properly see our friends and family again and go about our normal lives?

Works Cited
Cooke, Kristina. “As U.S. Schools Shuttered, Students’ Mental Health Cratered.” Reuters,19 Mar 2021.
“Essential Workers More Likely to be Diagnosed with Mental Health Disorder During Pandemic.” American Psychological Association, 11 Mar 2021.
Friedman, Richard. “You Might be Depressed Now, but Don’t Underestimate Your Resilience.” The New York Times, 4 May 2021.
“Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” CDC, 24 June 2020.
Powell, Alvin. “Pandemic Pushes Mental Health to the Breaking Point.” The Harvard Gazette, 27 Jan 2021.
Smith, Emily. “Teenagers are Struggling and It’s Not Just the Lockdown.” The New York Times, 4 May 2021.