Lockdown can put a strain on our lives and teenagers are no exception. Even after lockdown, the present danger of Covid-19 will remain, and many students will be learning remotely for the foreseeable future. Lockdowns and quarantines can put a strain on a teen’s mental health. There are some things you and your teen can do to cope. These things can be a great supplement to therapy as well. For professional online therapy, check out BetterHelp.
How Does Lockdown Affect Teenager Mental Health?
It is difficult to predict the long-term implications of lockdown and school closures, but there have already been studies into the short-term mental health effects that come with these pandemic measures.
Humans are social animals and our ability to be around other people has been limited during the pandemic. Teenagers need friendship for strong mental health. Teens often report being lonely or even depressed and stress levels have drastically increased. This could be due to a lot of different reasons including the virus itself, lack of social interaction, fear of the future, and financial strain. The stress brought on by the pandemic seems to be affecting children and teenagers more than anyone.
How Can You Help a Teen Cope with Lockdowns?
Teenagers will potentially miss out on some major milestones due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Many teens missed out on prom, senior trips, graduations, and more. Many of these things are unfixable, but there are still some things you can do to help your teenager cope with the missed opportunity, changes, and mental health affects brought on by the pandemic.
While teenagers are staying at home more, it is still important to have a structure in place. It is easier to flow though the day without any schedule to follow when everyone is at home. Make a point to schedule outdoor time, lunch time, and other activities for you and your teen. It may also be a good idea to implement chores into their routine.
One of the most important things you can do to help your children cope is to encourage exercise. It is also important that your teen goes outside. Encourage your teenager to take a daily walk around the block or throw a football around with them for at least 30 minutes every day. This small amount of time can go a long way.
Teenagers tend to act apathetic or aloof. However, this behavior can also be a sign of fear or even depression. Your teen may be worried about you or the virus. It is important to speak with them about their feelings. It is also important to educate them about Covid-19 and how to reduce their risk of catching the virus.
When Should You Seek Therapy?
Any concerning behavior is a reason to seek out the help of a professional. If your teen is acting uncharacteristically, you should speak with them and their doctor. In addition, there are some changes that you should be on the lookout for that are signs of mental illness in teenagers.
Sleep changes can be a sign of mental illness. This includes insomnia or sleeping too much. Eating more or less than normal is another sign to be aware of. If your teen is eating more than normal or at unusual times, you may want to ask them about it. If they are eating rarely or not enough when they do it, again it is wise to speak with them and their doctor.
Any signs of self-harm, substance abuse, or anger should be warning signs of mental illness and you should seek the help of a mental health professional.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in numerous ways. Teenagers lives have been uprooted which has negatively impacted their overall mental health. Make sure you communicate with your teen about the changes you are all experiencing. Also, educate them on Covid-19 and show that you support them.
It is also important to put a solid routine into place and to encourage them to spend time exercising and to go outside. Try to spend time with them every day whether it is playing a board game, watching a television show, or throwing the football around. Your teenager is likely missing out on social interaction, so do your best to give it to them.