Since we’re experiencing so much added stress as adults, it’s easy to imagine what the state of teen mental health must be like during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their lives were abruptly upended when the pandemic hit, and they’ve had to adjust to entirely new systems of learning and living. While some teens seem to be taking it all in stride, others are not handling it quite as well.
At Sundance Canyon Academy, numerous students have come to our school during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve their mental health while still receiving high school credit. The pandemic has taken its toll on teen mental health across the country. Now more than ever, teens who struggle with depression and anxiety need support to live happy and healthy lives. If your teen son has struggled with mental health problems due to the pandemic, contact us for more information about our therapeutic approach to improving teen mental health.
How to improve teen mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
Fortunately, teens whose families provide a healthy support system tend to have better mental health as a result. Here are a few strategies to support your teen’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spend time together as a family
According to the Institute for Family Studies, teens who spend more time having positive interactions with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic have better mental health. In their study on teen mental health during the pandemic, teens who spent more time positively interacting with their families were less likely to report depression and anxiety symptoms than their counterparts.
If you are trying to spend more time together having positive family interactions, you could do things like:
Eating dinner together
Having movie nights
Going on outdoor adventures like hikes
Playing games together
Arrange socially distanced time with friends
Teens who spend too much time in social isolation can develop mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Some teenagers prefer to be alone, so being separated from their peers hasn’t bothered them too much. Others need social interaction to feel complete and connected, so the pandemic has been rough for them.
With so many schools either being entirely virtual or fluctuating between in-person and virtual, teens don’t get to interact with their peers like they used to. So, you may need to look for creative ways for your teen to interact with their friends safely. By engaging in socially distanced in-person interactions, your teen will get the chance to stay connected to their friends and maintain their mental health.
Maintain a schedule
With so many uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be tough to stick to a schedule. School often happens from the dining table or home office, so there’s no need to plan the day like you used to.
Even though schedules might not be as necessary as they were before the pandemic, they can create a sense of normalcy. Having a routine to count on helps teens feel stable in a time that is anything but stable.
Check-in with your teen
We already know that the teenage years can be challenging and that teens can get moody. So it’s no surprise that your teenager will have some ups and downs throughout the pandemic. That is to be expected.
However, it’s important that you check in with them to see how they’re doing mentally and emotionally. Knowing when your teen is stressed about schoolwork versus when they’re stressed about pandemic consequences can make a huge difference in their mental health.
Signs of depression in teens
Keep an eye out for signs of depression in your teen, and don’t be afraid to get outside help from a therapist if you suspect that your child needs it.
Signs of depression include:
Withdrawing from people they used to enjoy spending time with
Withdrawing from activities that used to be fun for them
Change in sleeping habits (sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping)
Change in eating habits (over-indulging or not eating enough)
Lack of personal hygiene
Not following through with responsibilities
Physical pain (headaches, upset stomach, etc.)
If you suspect that your teen son is struggling with depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seek professional intervention. For many teens, attending a therapeutic boarding school can be beneficial for their mental health. They get to interact with other students in class and have fun during extracurricular activities. They also receive specialized treatment plans to help them overcome depression and feel more stable.
Contact us today to find out if our school is right for your son.