How pandemic has a long term impact on teens mental health & how they can recover from it

Strategies for the Long-term Impact of Pandemic on Teen Age

In this blog let’s talk about the long term impact on teens mental health. Teenage is one of the most exciting and most difficult times of one’s life. They are exploring their identity, their sexuality, worrying about their future, pushing boundaries set by parents to set their own and coming to terms with being on the cusp of adulthood but still at times feeling like children and being confused about which they like better.

It is also a stage where parents take a backseat and friends gain utmost importance. Where screaming matches, slamming doors, saying hurtful things to adults and then regretting it become commonplace. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced all of us to stay at home but this has most acutely affected teens mental health.

The change in routine, the lack of privacy, the lack of opportunity to vent out against parents and teachers, the inability to meet friends who are in a similar boat, dealing with virtual learning seems to have taken a toll on the youngsters. There is a rise in anxiety and depression in teenagers with epic proportions.

Being a Psychiatrist dealing with children and young adults, I am seeing many teenagers feeling frustrated, trapped, unable to communicate their feelings, feeling overwhelmed with their emotions, finding it difficult to deal with the uncertainty that this pandemic has brought as well as seeing their parents struggle with the situation and feeling helpless about it.

Sleep disturbances, having panic attacks, Increase in addictions, depression, self-harm or suicidal thoughts, anxiety, lack of concentration are some of the common presenting complaints for teenagers.

Unfortunately we cannot control everything but some of the things that the young people and their parents can do to encourage the teenagers are…

​Also, read: Cannabis and mental health

Stay connected

Maintaining physical distance need not mean social distancing. Stay connected with your loved ones, family and friends. Call your friend, have a video-call or catch up with your family or check in with someone on social media. seeking support from others helps us realize that we may not be alone

Express your feelings

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, confused, uncertain. What is important is that you express your feelings with someone you trust. You can also write a diary or use creative arts to let go of your pent up emotions

Get into a daily routine 

When everything around us seems uncertain, having a structure and routine makes us feel in control. you might find it helpful to plan out your time in advance and know what you are doing each day, so you have something to look forward to. 

Look after your personal environment 

Create a space that you are able to enjoy and feel comfortable in. It could even be a small corner of your room or a space in the balcony.

Take a break from social media if you need to 

Stay away from excessive negative news coverage or social media

Foster Wellness

Eat, sleep and exercise regularly. Avoid excessive Caffeine, alcohol or illicit Substances. Develop new or revisit old hobbies. Spend at least some ‘me time’ even if it for 10 minutes in a day doing something that you enjoy. Practice Yoga, Meditation or Mindfulness to reduce stress levels.

Be Thankful

Practice learning the art of being thankful for what you have. You can maintain a gratitude journal and remember that sometimes the things that we take for granted are the most important things to be thankful for!

Find a purpose

Take up a social cause like helping others who are less fortunate. Helping others elevates our self-esteem and adds to our resilience.
Set realistic goals- you may need to revisit your goals or move the timelines of achieving them. Break your goals into small achievable targets and slowly move towards it.

Seek Help
Seeking help from a professional when you need it in a timely fashion is crucial in building resilience especially when you feel stuck or have difficulty making progress.

Get in touch with our experts

Image source-Mpower

Sapna Bangar
Psychiatrist & Head: Mpower - The Centre
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