June 19, 2020 - 14:20 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A new survey gives a preliminary glimpse at the toll all of coronavirus-related changes – missing out on big milestones such as final semesters, final sports seasons, graduation, prom – have had on teenagers’ mental health, the Huffington Post reports.
Of roughly 1,500 teenagers who took part in the survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the National 4-H Council in May, 7 out of 10 teenagers said they were struggling with their mental health in some way.
More than half said they’d experienced anxiety, 45% said they’d felt excess stress, and 43% identified that they’d struggled with depression.
For some context, roughly 12% of American teens meet diagnostic criteria for depression and roughly 30% generally meet criteria for having an anxiety disorder by the time they are 18, although that data is by no means identical.
“It is clear to us based on the survey findings that Covid-19 has had a measurable adverse impact on teens’ mental health,” Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of 4-H, told HuffPost. “For example, 61% of teens said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feelings of loneliness.”
One notable finding from the survey is that teens reported spending at least nine hours a day on screens during the pandemic, an increase of at least three hours per day.
The poll did not (and cannot) establish cause and effect, but experts say it is certainly reasonable to expect that all that screen time could be exacerbating teens’ feelings.