ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — COVID shutdowns have not only greatly impacted children’s schooling, but also their mental health. In a survey of teens ages 13 to 19, the survey found seven out of ten teens are struggling with their mental health in the wake of COVID-19 and more than half said the pandemic has increased their feelings of loneliness. But Ivanhoe has some tips for parents on how to help their teen cope.
Fifteen-year-old Julia Byrne loves playing the trumpet. But her parents’ divorce and a move across the country made some much-loved activities a little less exciting.
“I just isolated myself and kept myself from doing things that I would enjoy because I thought I didn’t deserve them,” Byrne shared.
Then COVID-19 happened, and she was forced to be even more isolated.
“Which has just been hard, and it’s contributed to me being suicidal for some time,” continued Byrne.
Byrne was not alone.
“This isolation is causing a lot of issues for teens,” stated Ian Adair, Executive Director at Gracepoint Foundation.
Forty-three percent of teens say they have experienced depression, 45 percent have experienced excessive stress, and 55 percent experienced anxiety due to the pandemic. So, what can parents do?
“We have to empathize. We have to listen, actively listen to what’s going on,” said Adair.
Create a safe space where your teen can talk and don’t be afraid to ask your teen if they’re thinking about hurting themselves.
“There’s a stigma that if you talk about suicide, then that might increase the opportunity for kids to attempt suicide or think about suicide, when research says it’s the exact opposite,” continued Adair.
Adair normalizes talking about mental health in his book, ‘’Stronger Than Stigma’’, and he says when parents normalize the conversation …
“You rationalize it. When you talk about it, you make it something you can work out,” Adair explained.
Exercising and talking to a therapist have turned things around for Byrne.
“It was able to help me focus on my mental health and finally start to pick myself up from that spiral,” smiled Byrne.
Allowing her to tune in to more positive notes.
Parents can take a mental health test to see if their teen might be struggling with mental health issues at mhascreening.org. Share the results with your teen afterwards to get the conversation started.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
OVERCOMING STIGMA: HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR TEEN’S MENTAL HEALTH
BACKGROUND: One in six people between the ages of 10 and 19 years will suffer from mental health. Mental health conditions account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury among people between the ages of 10 and 19. Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated which is why globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents and suicide is the third leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 and 19.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS: Multiple factors can determine a person’s mental health outcome. The more risk factors young adults are exposed to the greater the potential impact on their mental health. Factors that can contribute to stress during a person’s youth include but are not limited to a desire for greater self-directing freedom, pressure to fit in with peers, exploration of sexual identity, and increased access to and use of technology. Other important factors that can harm a young adult’s mental health include the quality of their home life, relationships with peers, violence (including harsh parenting and bullying) and socioeconomic problems. Some young adults are at greater risk of mental health conditions because of factors such as their living conditions, stigma, discrimination or exclusion, or lack of access to quality support and services, already suffering from chronic illness, being on the autism spectrum, having an intellectual disability or other neurological condition, pregnancy and having young parents. Mental health promotion and prevention interventions aim to strengthen an individual’s capacity to regulate emotions, provide better solutions to risk-taking behaviors, build resilience for difficult situations and adversities, and promote supportive social environments and social networks. Programs that help better a person’s mental health require a multilevel approach with varied delivery platforms and strategies to reach young adults.
NEW STUDIES FOR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUNG ADULTS: A new study suggests that differences in the expression of gene transcripts (readouts copied from DNA that help maintain and build our cells) may hold the key to understanding how mental disorders with shared genetic risk factors can result in different patterns of starting symptoms, the course of illness, and treatment responses. Researchers found from the study only a small number of differences in gene expression between individuals with a mental disorder and individuals without a mental disorder, however, when they focused on the transcripts, they found two to three times as many differences between individuals in the two groups. The most noticeable differences were when the researchers compared transcripts between two groups of individuals with a mental disorder. The results of the study sheds light on the importance of understanding transcript-level differences to get a full picture of why mental disorders vary in the beginning, progression, and symptoms. Parents can take a mental health test to see if their teen might be struggling with mental health issues at www.mhascreening.org.
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