Teenage years are defined as challenging time of life. This is the moment where new hormones present themselves, where change is inevitable, and where learning about and finding oneself is a key commonality.
Down to existing pressures on teens, mental health problems are already higher than they were years ago. While teenage mental health support may be greater and stand as accessible online, on a confidential basis, diagnosis rates are still advancing, down to social media pressures, down to excessive trolling, down to unrealistic demands, and down to an already unpredictable time of life before adulthood.
Over the last year of the pandemic, we’ve witnessed the vocalisation of increased mental health problems, across the world. Yet what about the already existing problem of mental health issues in teenagers?
Teenage mental health during the pandemic, which is still ongoing and that is still carrying effect has unfortunately deteriorated even further, through uncontrollable and unprecedented experiences.
Anxiety levels are heightened, feelings of irritability are noticeable, loneliness is at its all-time worst, and change and a lack of normality have been found to be strong catalysts.
Whether you’re a teen, a parent to or overall share concerns, it’s important to appreciate the tough times of the pandemic, along with how to overcome them with mental health support.
Here are some insight into teenage mental health during the pandemic, along with some proactive and supportive steps to regain balance, accessible here at Addiction Advocates.
The already challenging time of teenage years
We’ve all been through or will experience our teenage years. They are tough, they are testing, and they are a part of growing up.
Such years are already challenging, down to the pressure of this time of life, where we’re striving for popularity, for success, for happiness and for a step up into adulthood. While daunting, being a teenager should also be an enjoyable milestone, as significant development takes place.
It’s understandable that mental health worries are linked to such development, where anxiety diagnoses, where symptoms of eating disorders and comparison disorders, and where behaviour starts to become irrational. This is a moment of finding oneself, of testing boundaries and of developing our own persona.
Yet, it’s easy to see how teenage mental health issues are worrying, as such pressure already exists, without the symptoms of uncontrollable mental health vulnerabilities.
Pairing such development with vulnerabilities can be hard, which is why the focus must be placed on the added pressures and change caused by the pandemic.
Teenage mental health during the pandemic
Through the turmoil of the pandemic, teenage mental health statistics have noticeably increased. More individuals have been placed in the situation where mental health vulnerabilities do usually influence, where personal tolerances have been found, and where common triggers of such disorders reside.
For example, excessive loneliness is an influence of low, negative emotions, which if experienced on an ongoing basis, are linked to depression and anxiety.
The pandemic has turned a sociable and engaging time of teenage life into an isolating, lonely and disengaging year, increasing the risk of such feelings for an already confused and affected generation.
The pandemic has been found to increase anxiety levels, has been found to promote greater levels of irritability, has been found to cause sleep problems and deter routines, and has been found to overall increase mental health indicators across teenagers.
Teenage mental health statistics show that 27%  of teenage participants, within recent relevant research, have encountered symptoms of anxiety, in relation to the constraints and changed caused by the pandemic. 32%  of teens also shared how the pandemic has acted as a disruption, changing their routine, sleeping patterns and ability to concentrate.
Those whose parents are unemployed or live within lower social classifications have found to experience the greatest impact of the pandemic, where clear symptoms of mental health issues have been noted.
Whether the inability to complete school, to advance to college, to see friends, to fulfil achievements, the worries over money, over parental issues, over a lack of routine, over diminished independence and over the unknown of the future, there are many triggers, causing heightened mental health issues.
If you’re worried about teenage mental health during the pandemic, whether you’re personally feeling low, or lack awareness of how to support those around you, at Addiction Advocates, we are here for you.
Symptoms of mental health issues in teens
Mental health symptoms are very personal, as they reflect individual reactions to certain pressures or emotions. However, there are some signs to consider which deviate from the general low moments and high-pressure experiences of teenage years.
- Consistent feelings of sadness, irritability and of general depression
- Stresses over small, irrelevant situations
- Physical symptoms of anxiety
- Struggles with concentrating
- Disengagement from friends, from any degree of socialisation through the pandemic, and from everyday routine
- Extreme changes in behaviour, habits and personality
- Physical and psychological health changes
Some can of course be difficult to pinpoint. Yet noticeable change is usually the sign of mental health issues, in teenagers, which unfortunately for many are untreated or undiagnosed.
On a global scale, suicide, linked to mental health issues is the third causation  of death in the teenage demographic. This is extremely sad, as many problems do go unnoticed, especially in the midst of global change.
However, greater resources and forms of support should be present, to manoeuvre through teenage life, through the tests and through the pandemic.
How to talk to a teen about mental health
This is one of those easier said than done situations, as you’ll need to offer compassion, empathy and a sensitive approach when talking to a teen about their mental health.
Mental health issues can be a scary potential for those who are already experiencing insecurities and change. It’s vital that you are supportive, that you are clued up, that you do not assume, and that you showcase the normality of therapy.
You will need to form trust, you will need to be approachable, and you’ll need to act as a support source, rather than a form of judgment. This is the time to also utilise mental health resources, to improve the acknowledgement and recovery process, especially through this challenging time.
If you’re experiencing mental health symptoms or worry that your teenager is, we are here with support at Addiction Advocates.
Teenage mental health during the pandemic needs greater focus, as many individuals are struggling. If such struggles are engulfing your life, your mental health can be worked on and improved to offer greater normality and balance for you.