By Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
Mental illness affects nearly one in five adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18. Stigmas surrounding mental illness often prevent young adults from seeing a nurse practitioner or other health care provider about their condition, and sadly, there is an average 10-year gap between the onset of symptoms and treatment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified this problem, as the significant consequences of social isolation and emotional stress during these formative years can have a lasting impact on a teen’s wellbeing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines four things that you can do to help your teen overcome the challenges of COVID-19-related mental health issues:
- Recognize and address fear and stress.
- Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions.
- Help keep teens healthy and stimulated.
- Facilitate connections and help teens stay socially connected.
As we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month this May, pay special attention to the impact COVID-19 is having on the teens in your life. If your child is exhibiting any signs of anxiety or depression, contact your health care provider — like a nurse practitioner — for help.