COVID-19 effects teen mental health


Helen Davies

“169.366 Mental Health” by HelenHates Peas. The mental state of teens who struggle with mental illness during quarantine is delicate and declining.

Kacy Mull, Ranger Review Reporter

Due to the recent rises in COVID-19 cases at LPHS, the school is going fully online for the rest of the fall semester. Since the first quarantine in spring 2019 led to major changes in teen mental health, the effect this second quarantine may have is a major concern, especially among teens already struggling with mental health issues. 

During the first quarantine in March, a consensus among teens was that their mental health states declined because of quarantine. 

“My mental health was really bad from late March to mid-October,” said Rhianna Lingle 11.

While the original quarantine was only meant to last two weeks, some struggled to hold onto hope that the school would return to normal. 

“I knew we weren’t going back a couple of days before spring break ended,” Joel Warren 11 said. “I felt like there were just too many things happening. By then, the death toll wasn’t high at all but cases were pretty high and I was just thinking there’s no way we’re going to be able to come back and then not have to leave again.”

This uncertainty aided the decline in teen mental health. However, the lack of socialization seemed to have a larger effect on teens. 

“It was very difficult not being able to see friends,” said Warren. 

Rhianna Lingle 11 struggled to maintain friendships during the quarantine period. 

“I’ve always been sort of an introvert so I have to make sure that I still have friendships and that I’m not shutting everyone out,” Lingle said. 

However, the decline in school work actually had a positive effect on teens’ mental health. Caidence McClanahan 11 admitted that, while their mental health was already bad, the lack of stress from school work helped improve it. 

“Since school is the main source of that anxiety and depression, it kind of got a little bit better around the beginning,” McClanahan said. 

Warren shed light on his experience. 

“That was actually around the time I stopped seeing my therapist. I think it was because of the lack of school work coming in,” said Warren. 

But with the former hybrid schedule, the lines between work time and downtime are becoming blurred in many students’ minds. 

Rachel O’Connell 10 is taking three online classes and four in-person classes. With this part time schedule, she feels as though she is having a harder time working on her online days. 

“The online classes are nice because it’s by week but I feel like, with the mix, I’ve been going to school and should probably do my other three class periods but I’m like oh I’ve already been to school so I don’t have to,” she said. 

O’Connell’s grades have been suffering because of this. 

“In all my classes online except for Creative Writing, I’m at a 50-60% which is a huge burden on me because I’m normally pretty good at school,” O’Connell said. “In my in person classes, I’m not finding any motivation to do anything so I have a few missing assignments. It’s just bringing down my grades and my confidence in myself because I’ve always taken pride in being a good student.”

The new quarantine is now bringing to question what the impact on teens will be. 

 “I think I’ll be ready for it but it will definitely be a pattern of whatever I experienced first quarantine,” said Warren.

Rhianna Lingle believes she may be able to deal with it better than the first. 

“Now that I know what to expect, I might be able to find some coping mechanisms and healthier coping mechanisms to actually heal with that,” Lingle said. “I don’t think that it would be much different for my mental health, but I would be more prepared for it so it would be less of a shock, which might help.”

While select teenagers had dealt with bad mental health before the fall quarantine, many of those who are in a good mental state had just gotten back on their feet from the spring quarantine. What Caidence McClanahan fears is that those who are more extroverted will struggle with another quarantine.

“For other teens, especially people who are more social, could have a negative impact because being around people is an important part of mental health and mental journey and being able to talk to their friends and see them has a huge positive impact,” McClanahan said. “Without that, I think it would have very negative repercussions.”