8 Warning Signs Of Teen Depression To Look For During COVID

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Teen depression and declining mental health are on the rise. COVID-19 has been hard for everyone as a nation and worldwide, but it has been especially hard for teens and young adults.

Young people are struggling to cope emotionally and may not have the experience and resources to manage the overwhelming changes that they have been forced to navigate.

The decline in mental health among this age group has led to a significant increase in anxiety and depression.

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Teens and young adults are especially at risk for depression during COVID-19.

With schools being closed and teens being isolated from their peers, and with social interactions being an important developmental requirement for this age group, their mental health is suffering.

Kids of this age group are feeling increasingly anxious about their future, leading to an increased feelings of hopelessness.

Young adults are not sure their friendships are strong enough to withstand the long breaks from in-person contact and are struggling with learning and taking classes online.

Teens and young adults are showing a significant increase in depression and anxiety. Plus, there has been a rise in suicide risk among this age group.

Virtual meetings do not offer the same connection as in-person meetings with teens and young adults.

They feel like they are missing out on important milestones and are experiencing a lack of security with their future and jobs.

Checking in often with your teens and young adults — and finding ways to have them see friends outdoors while wearing masks and social distancing — can make a difference in their mental health.

Here are 8 signs of teen depression you need to watch out for.

1. Mood changes.

They're more irritated, angry, and feeling more hopeless.

There's a decrease in their communication or they give short answers.

2. Less interest in academics.

They feel that that school is a waste of time and doesn’t matter.

There's an increase in missing assignments, or they refuse to attend virtual classes.

3. Sleep issues.

They have difficulty falling asleep or often wake up in the middle of the night. They may also sleep too much.

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4. Ruminating.

They have repetitive anxious thoughts about real or imagined situations. They also have an inability to shift focus or any see alternative outcomes.

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5. Feelings of hopelessness.

They have thoughts or often talk about death or suicide.

6. Changes in appearance.

They are no longer bothering with personal hygiene, such as showering, basic grooming, or even changing clothes.

7. Lacking interest in social connections.

If your child is normally outgoing and communicates often with friends, a lack of interest in texting or video chatting with them, is a reason for concern.

8. Change in eating patterns.

They are eating irregularly. There's a marked increase or decrease in food consumption, and they go through significant weight loss or weight gain.

Engage with your teen often.

Remember, your child may not want to worry you or add to any more stress in the family.

Talking about how the Coronavirus is impacting them and discussing their concerns is very important right now. So, engage your teen or young adult in family activities and encourage them to talk about emotions as a regular part of the day.

By engaging and encouraging them, you're helping them manage their overwhelming feelings, so they can feel more connected to others.

Many young adults and teens feel that they are the only ones struggling. Reminding them that their peers are also having a hard time adjusting can normalize their feelings and help them feel more supported. 

Connecting often and regularly with your teen and young adult during these challenging times is an important way to support your child.

If you're concerned about your child’s declining mental health, please reach out.

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

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Monica Ramunda, MA, LPC, LCMHC, RPT-S, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in both Colorado and North Carolina and provides counseling to teens, young adults, and families. She is the owner of Rocky Mountain Counseling and Lighthouse Counseling Services.