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Mental Health During Covid-19

Author's note: I accidentally deleted the original post (which I feel extremely stupid for) when I meant to delete a post that was in my drafts. I reshared this post because it was an extremely good post. My apologies to the writer and my audience.

For the past year, we were told, “stay home, save lives”. Covid-19 hit the United States over a year ago, and the country shut down. Today, half of the country is still locked down, businesses have closed down, and kids haven’t been able to attend school or any activities for over a year. All of this, we were told, was to keep people healthy and save lives. But, what about the lives we lost to suicide? How many young people had their mental health damaged due to these lockdowns? This was the cost of these lockdowns; the teen mental health crisis are growing like never before.
 
The fact that this country has a mental health crisis among teens is nothing new. The CDC reports that between years 2007 and 2018, teen suicide rates rose by 57.4%. In 2020, the increase in suicide among the youth rose to 67%. The fact is that there is a teen suicide pandemic facing this country that no one had taken into consideration during this Covid pandemic. We are losing our young people more to the mental health crisis than we ever had to Covid. Now, this isn’t to minimize the lives we lost to Covid. In the beginning lockdowns made sense, we were dealing with a virus we haven’t seen before. If lockdowns are how we prevented more people from dying of the Covid virus, then I support it. However, we need to look at how much more harm there is than good when it comes to these lockdowns. After about 2 months into the pandemic, we learned exactly who is and who isn’t vulnerable to this virus. Teenagers with no previous health conditions are not at risk for this virus. They should have been allowed back into schools back in the fall, back with their friends, and back to their lives. However, that didn’t happen. Today, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-24. More and more young people are reporting experiences of anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. We paid the price of our youths' mental health because of politics.
 
Being a teenager is hard and confusing. You are trying to figure out the world, who you are, and how you fit into this world. You and your body start going through changes, your hormones are all over the place. Young people today are more than ever under the pressure to maintain grades, get involved in community, keep up with their social lives, plan their future, etc. And when you pull young people out of an established environment, lock them in their homes, and expect that with all the stress they face, while being an at-risk group for a mental disorder, you put them in a bigger position than ever to face a mental health crisis. During the covid-19 pandemic, young people between the ages of 11-17 who accessed an online mental health screening was 9 percent higher than the average in 2019. Mental health America organization has found that not only is that age group more likely to search for help, they’re also most likely to score for moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression.
 
The fact that there has been a spike in teen mental health issues has been true over the past decade. But we’ve never seen a spike like this before. The amount of young people growing more anxious and depressed, the amount of teens thinking about or attempting or have committed suicide is disheartening. This is the crisis no one wants to admit too. We were told that staying in lockdown saved lives. You were told you’re protecting yourselves and the lives of the vulnerable if you stayed home. What about the thousands and thousands of lives we lost, and continue to lose. The truth is that covid is coming to an end, but the mental health crisis and suicide rates are growing. This isn’t to blame anyone who supported the lockdowns, but this is to get you to open your eyes to the consequences of lockdowns. If we really want to start saving more lives, we need to start focusing on how to help our teens who are in one of the worse suicide and mental health crisis we’ve seen.

Sources:
https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/09/11/youth-suicide-rate-increases-cdc-report-finds/3463549001

Biography: My name is Katya Stiranka. I live in Seattle, Washington. This year I’m graduating high school and plan on attending Northern Arizona University to study psychological sciences.

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