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How To Protect Teens’ Mental Health: Important Issue

Imagine the COVID-19 scenario again. The primary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 worldwide has been isolation and social distancing. Hence, since March 2020, schools, institutes, and sports centers have been closed in many countries. These will subsequently reopen after the summer. These circumstances have affected the entire population. Sadly, it seems that children and adolescents (along with the elderly) are the most vulnerable to these preventive measures. Hence the significant prevalence of psychological symptoms (stress, anxiety, sadness, addictions) and mental disorders among youth. If you wonder how to protect teens’ mental health, rest assured, as you will find plenty of information to help you.

Compared to adults, the adverse consequences of the pandemic on the mental health of adolescents may be more prolonged and intense. Their impact depends on several factors. Age, educational status, disabilities, history of mental disorders, low social status, parental illnesses – including covid-19 – and degree of family structuring.

The most frequent psychological manifestations in adolescents who are attending the emergency department are many. Suicide attempts, eating behavior problems, and depressive symptoms with predominant irritability and inability to enjoy the things they used to enjoy. The leading causes of this crisis are because family, school, and friends have lost their buffer effect. Youg people use human and social interactions to develop and have a stable emotional mindset.

Let us name some of the causes. The loss of family customs and routines. The absence of the structured environment of the school. Difficulties in participating in sports activities. The lack of interaction with their friends and peers.

The long months of the pandemic have generated, in many of them, great uncertainty about their academic and work future. They have turned to compulsive activities linked to the Internet. Behaviors as such resulted in isolation from positive social relationships and increased exposure to bullying and abuse.

Parents and authorities need to know about adolescents’ mental health. Treat them before a situation arises and try to prevent the situation from escalating. COVID-19 has made apparent how fragile and essential it is for our children to have good mental health. For years, mental health has been taboo and not discussed; that was a mistake that needs fixing!

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Recommendations For The Present And The Future

Some make us all reflect on the following recommendations to answer the question: how to protect teens’ mental health?

  • Parents are the primary role models that their children learn from. Therefore, they should learn to cope with disappointments, difficulties in emotional control, and problem-solving at home. The uncertainty of exams and young people’s future employment should not become stressful for the family. Finding alternative responses other than disappointment and taking a positive outlook would be recommended.
  • The integration of adolescents into the decision-making of the family can be of great assistance and help. This may be a good time to delegate some family responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, shopping) to young people to feel responsible for the family’s upkeep.
  • Excessive use of the Internet should not be allowed. In particular, if they are searching for news related to the pandemic. Since it is a source of anxiety, abusive and compulsive use of social networking sites is a known source of low self-esteem.
  • Creative activities can counteract certain risky behaviors, such as music, painting, dancing, and writing.
  • Relationships with friends are fundamental for young people. Therefore, people should encourage the maintenance of supportive relationships with their friends.
  • In schools, teachers should emphasize protection and responsibility measures. This will help avoid the transmission of the virus and be attentive to particular dangerous or unhealthy behaviors. Classroom interaction should ramp up, and they need to give information to manage anxiety or stress, especially in high schools. Teachers can detect problems that sometimes go unnoticed by parents and facilitate consultation with mental health professionals.
  • Pediatricians and family doctors can recognize the physical manifestations of emotional problems (pain, self-injury). When left unattended, these ailments can become the gateway to different, more severe ailments. This enables them to inform and educate parents and to make referrals to mental health professionals.
  • Child and adolescent mental health professionals have a decisive role in managing this crisis and combine face-to-face and online interventions. Professionals are required to make an effort to coordinate with families, teachers, and volunteers to serve as a support network for adolescents. Psychiatric admissions should be the last option, as it represents the failure of community support. If necessary, efforts should be made to reduce the stress and stigma associated with psychiatric hospitalization. Mental health teams have an essential task in training pediatricians, family physicians, and teachers to detect mental disorders in young people.
  • Clinical psychologists should design and implement short-term behavioral interventions to manage common mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, substance abuse, and other mental health issues. Professionals need to also focus on psychoeducational techniques where parents are included.
  • Psychiatrists should be more cautious, if possible, when choosing pharmacological versus psychotherapeutic strategies. Mental health professionals must organize longitudinal studies to assess the consequences of the pandemic.

The Bottom Line

Adolescence is a crucial period for developing a person’s social and emotional habits throughout his or her life. It is a unique stage between the ages of 10 and 19 when the most significant physical, emotional and social changes occur.

In that sense, adolescents who can be near risks factors such as poverty, violence, or bad experiences are more vulnerable and more likely to develop mental health problems.

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James Trotta

James Trotta is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. He is a degree holder in political science. His studies were a success after emerging among the top students in his class with an honors degree. James’ passion was deeply rooted in politics and news reporting, and he immediately joins the giant news company where he worked as a reporter and news editor for three years. The company locates in New York, and he is so much into US politics. James later quits the job to venture into something more focused on the needs of the people.

Trotta Now works as a writer delivering up-to-date news. He writes up-to-date information about politics, business, and entertainment because these are the lead Niches that directly influence people. James also participates in empowering young talents, where his focus is to mentor upcoming talents in the same field. James acknowledges that his happiness is when he sees young talents becoming an inspiration to many.

He is happy to live in New York since it is a center where he gets first-hand information from the US government. James Trotta hopes to be an ambassador of correct and up-to-date news to all US and international consumers.

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