Teen’s Mental Health Decline Over Pandemic

Art+featuring+what+mental+health+struggles+can+feel+like+everyday.+

Adrienne McCoy

Art featuring what mental health struggles can feel like everyday.

Adrienne McCoy, Staff Writer

TRIGGER WARNING MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES AND EATING DISORDER

As the pandemic stretched on, teens felt the changes of their mental health. According to the RAW project, a study done in South Wales, Australia, 93% of teens who use social media experience more depression symptoms.

“I think my mental health has gotten worse over quarantine because I had nothing to do, and so social media was kind of my one thing  that I would go to, and so it kind of brought me down more,” said freshman Caitie Kirwan.

Social media has proven to be a detriment to mental health over the pandemic, but some say it actually helped them.

A list of mental health helplines if someone needs them.

“I go on it and I see this content and it kind of validates my identity, if that makes sense,” said senior Rea Montgomery. “It reminds me that it’s alright to be neurodivergent, you know, like I have ADHD, but that’s okay and here’s some things that you can learn about that. But then I go on other platforms such as Instagram, and it’s like, what do you weigh 115 pounds, you’re a loser.”

Montgomery states that Instagram is very bad for them, claiming things like they feel judged, and that trends set a high standard for girls to reach. But, even older apps such as MySpace and Tumblr cause problems as well.

On these apps there were Pro Ana communities that coached girls into having eating disorders, according to Montgomery.

“That definitely negatively impacted my mental health, that at the end of the day I still struggle with body image issues. I still struggle with eating three meals a day and sometimes I just struggle with eating, period,” Montgomery said.

Teens have also gotten the brunt of the stress from parents because they have been stuck inside with them all quarantine.

“It’s just that I’m not used to seeing my parents all the time in my house. I’m used to being home alone. So, yes, I think it’s sometimes awkward,” Kirwan said.

However, social media and parents aren’t the only things that have caused mental health to plummet. Online school greatly affected some teens mental health.

“It was definitely way easier than in-person, but not being able to talk to people during class, or asking as many questions made me feel closed off and not part of the actual lesson,” said sophomore Maddy Jones.

Montgomery voiced the opinion that some students have lost their sense of motivation and perfectionism, including themselves.

“I would say that online school, especially in the midst of a pandemic, has negatively impacted my mental health,” Montgomery said. “Just on the account of I lost that, in that was what I had placed my identity in, and is being smart, is having good grades, as being like a little Miss Perfect. Then, it’s gone and it’s like, what am I, you know.”