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Teenagers, Mental Health, and COVID-19

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The recent outbreak and spread of COVID-19 has sparked significant emotional challenges for teens and young adults. Indeed, a recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental wellbeing. More so, last month, roughly 20,000 people texted the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, representing a 1,000 percent increase from August of last year.

While the risk of COVID-19 remains lower for teens relative to the adult population, many are worried about inadvertently spreading the disease to their parents and older loved ones.

Many are asking themselves: What are my responsibilities for keeping the people around me safe? How do I deal with renewed senses of fear and hopelessness? Do I add additional stress by confiding my feelings onto my parents?

Yet most worrying of all, kids have not had the appropriate mediums or ample time to express their ever changing thoughts and feelings throughout the ongoing situation.

Being a teenager is stressful enough, but coupled in with a pandemic? Unprecedented.

Remarkably, the Jewish community responded almost instantaneously to this crisis by converting traditional modes of the teenage social experience into safer, more distanced venues. Physical classrooms became virtual breakout rooms, class graduation into drive-by parades, and even Zoom bar mitzvahs began trending.

But perhaps in our haste to readjust life so as to be as normal as possible for our kids, there was one crucial element we forgot to consult..our kids.

Yes, retaining some resemblance of normalcy was critical, but perhaps in such a rush, we haven’t allowed our kids to recognize what........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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