Covid Cases Rising? So are Mental Health Issues


Canon Drummond

Cooped up inside for months and months. Trapped with nothing but boredom and schoolwork. With so much work to do, stress builds up in the minds of teenagers. This begins to damage students’ mental health in ways that they are not used to. Although the spread of Coronavirus has been going on for a year and a couple of months, people’s mental health is still being constantly damaged. And that’s a concern, even if the damage is minor.

In the months of January to June of 2019, about 11% of adults reported symptoms of depression or anxiety according to an NHIS (National Health Interview Survey) survey. In 2 years, that number has changed drastically. According to a Household Pulse Survey, that 11% has gone up to 30.1%! This clearly underscores that many have begun struggling with mental health issues throughout the time the virus has been taking over. Now this is just an average 41.1% of ages ranging between 18-65+. Something that stands out is that the lower the age the higher the percentage.

In another recent survey, geared more toward teen mental health, an interview was done with parents asking if they thought their child exhibited symptoms of mental health disorders. In a survey of 977 parents, roughly 46% answered yes. Now, there could be some error because teens don’t always express all their feelings and emotions with others, and parents could be misreading their child’s behavior, thinking it is something it isn’t. This could cause that number to go up or down. Regardless of how accurate this survey is, 46% is too high. This means nearly half of teens, according to this small survey, are struggling with mental health issues every day.

What can be done to stop this? Well, I interviewed one of my close friends who struggles with mental health about what he does to cope with the detrimental effects of depression. The main strategy which he seemed to use was: distraction. “I’d also try to keep myself busy when I could, give my brain something to focus on instead of free land to roam.” What he means by this is that if his mind is distracted, he won’t have those negative thoughts that would occur because he would be focused on something else. He also would try to keep himself busy by doing things like hanging out with friends.

He liked being busy and distracted and this led him to getting a job. “Work was a main thing for a while that really helped me out, being able to accomplish something made me feel important and feel like I had worth.” He explains that he would find happiness or be proud of himself for completing tasks and this is something that may help. Being able to find enjoyment in completing a task regardless of how big or small it is will help you to realize that you can do whatever you want to do. It’ll show you your worth.

His last tip was to learn how to accept how your brain is going to think and to be prepared for it. “Once you do that it’s just a matter of the waiting game. Time heals all wounds.”

Alongside these suggestions given by someone our age, the CDC has recommended some basic strategies to help get you through. If you find yourself getting upset, take a second to breathe and notice how you feel. Reach out for help if it gets to be too much. If you feel as if you are going to harm yourself, call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) to get help if you do not feel comfortable talking to someone around you. Stay connected with friends and family to keep your spirits up. Lastly, take care of your body; the importance of having good physical health will help your mental well-being.

With all said and done, your mental health is important and if it isn’t taken care of properly it will affect you in many ways. So, do what needs to be done to care for yourself – because at the end of the day you should be your own top priority. Keep your head high and do things you enjoy to stay as positive as you can. Times are tough right now and we have no clue when they will get better.

So, keep fighting. It’s worth it.