Teen Mental Health Amidst the Pandemic

Teen Mental Health Amidst the Pandemic by K.E. FISHER


I’m sure most folks remember March 12, if you haven’t blocked it out yet. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was the last day of in-person classes for the 2019-2020 school year. Activities and sports all shut down within a few days (some within a few hours) of each other. Students who participated in multiple school activities found themselves with nothing to do for months. Classes started up online — a huge shift for the Talawanda community.

One of the largest concerns of healthcare professionals amidst the pandemic is the issue of mental health, especially among teenagers. Being in isolation from friends and extended family has been proving to contribute heavily to anxiety, depression, and stress across all demographics, and the impact on young people can be amplified for several reasons. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the pandemic can cause fear over personal health, difficulty concentrating, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns — all contributing factors to serious mental health problems. 

For many, such drastic changes in routine can seriously disrupt the way that we function day-to-day. For students who relied heavily on school for structure, social interaction, and even entertainment, being at home with only a few other people to regularly interact with has brought on feelings of loneliness and lack of motivation.

“Online school hasn’t always provided the right amount of structure,” said a Talawanda High School senior. “and beginning our last year of high school online has been strange, too. It’s almost like our minds are telling us high school is over, and it’s hard to rationalize still doing work at all.”

A report from the World Economic Forum mentions how the closure of schools for young people has seemed to form a pause to school life: “We do not yet know the longer-term impacts that being away from school has had on either young people’s mental health or their educational outcomes.”

As of Sept. 10, it has been just under six months since Talawanda Schools shut down in March. Despite some sports and activities being permitted to continue, our classes have remained online, in a schedule wildly different than we are used to. The changes in routine, along with the new expectations of a different method of learning, have made an entirely unexplored environment for teenagers and young people. 

As of now, most of us are taking it one day at a time. 


Mental Health Resources

Talawanda High School Counseling

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) helpline: 1-800-662-4357

The Trevor Project lifeline: 1-866-488-7386

Crisis Text Line: text “HELLO” to 741741