Mental health experts say U.S. teens were experiencing alarming levels of anxiety and depression before COVID. Now they say kids have increased feelings of loss.
“What they are experiencing is probably not that different than grief,” explained Elizabeth Koschmann, Ph.D., Research Scientist, University of Michigan.
Koschmann is the director of a youth mental health intervention program. The program works with kids ages eight through 18 by practicing coping strategies. It’s been successful in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. Koschmann says parents should watch for signs their teen is struggling with depression, like a change in personality. A teen may withdraw or sleep excessively. Parents should validate their child’s feelings of loss. Support them in ways they can be social with peers, for example, using tech. Help them develop coping skills, like outdoor exercise.
“Model self-reflection and say, when I feel overwhelmed, I go for a walk or when I feel really lethargic and unmotivated, I force myself to go for a run. What are you doing?” continued Koschmann.