Covid’s Impact On Teens and Their Mental Health

Rebecca Kittay, Reporter

 March 13, 2020: a day to remember. One day kids were in school and the next they were online. COVID-19, the pandemic took a toll on everyone mentally, physically, and economically, but it doesn’t just stop there because they are still experiencing waves of misfortune when it comes to COVID-19. Today, students have been experiencing altering behaviors, businesses shutting down, and the education system being disrupted. The pandemic caused social isolation and created a new term- “social distancing” keeping  ourselves away from other people. 

Because of the pandemic, there were several activities that had to stop, this included but was not limited to school, sports, professional sports, going to a movie theater or watching a show, festival and more.  This took a burden not just from an economic standpoint, but also from an educational perspective.   Covid-19 has led to there being a high percentage of people connected to their electronic devices whether they were on the internet or social media.  It caused a reduction in academic skills and learning.   There are studies that are being proven that the pandemic caused a disruption of routine and isolation from other people resulting in the fact that many people were starting to become anti-social with one another.

On an educational level this affected students all around the world.  Because of Covid-19 and a consistent spike of cases, many districts imposed regulations to ensure everyone’s safety.  But by doing this, it caused many districts to decide that the 2020-2021 school year would be online.  This took a toll and unfortunately took people’s social lives.  Physically, some sports were closed down for the year to insure that people could social distance.  While doing online school was not the most ideal way of learning or socializing, most teachers set up zoom meetings where they would also set break out rooms.  Sometimes people would talk, sometimes they sat there in silence.  Being online, it caused students to have a lack of motivation toward learning, waking up, and completing assignments.

Many students can agree that having to wake up in the morning for school can be hard, but now they had to stay at home and learn; that was difficult.   In a website called MedRxiv the authors researched, “The pandemic had also caused psychological stress among the students, making it difficult for them to focus on studying. They expressed feelings of anxiety, burnout, loneliness, homesickness, grief, and hopelessness.” In addition there are several cases in which we thought that it was too difficult, or that they wanted to quit.  In an article written byNational Leader-Education and Skill Development” Narayanan Ramaswamy he listed 5 negatives that were thought about within students and education.  

  1. curtailing dropouts during and post pandemic 
  2. decline in learning outcomes and well-being
  3. integration of digital based learning 
  4. the role and capacity of teachers and 
  5. sustainability of private schools 

In more detail he says “In India, around 250 million students were affected due to school closures at the onset of lockdown induced by COVID-19. The pandemic posed several challenges in public and private schools which included an expected rise in dropouts, learning losses, and increase in digital divide.”

While that did take a lot from us students, it has also caused more harm to students’ mental health.  Because of the pandemic, teens and adolescents started to show signs of anxiety and depression.  According to CNN Health students felt sadness and started having low self-esteem. In addition, the pandemic caused students to experience social isolation or in other words the lack of having regular social interactions. While many felt lonely, others were feeling depressed and started to feel like they have lost themselves.  The CDC says “According to the new data, in 2021, more than a third (37%) of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year. The new analyses also describe some of the severe challenges youth encountered during the pandemic: 

  • More than half (55%) reported they experienced emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home, including swearing at, insulting, or putting down the student.
  • 11% experienced physical abuse by a parent or other adult in the home, including hitting, beating, kicking, or physically hurting the student.
  • More than a quarter (29%) reported a parent or other adult in their home lost a job.”


Although there are many negatives, there are some things that were beneficial. At home learning helped with the technology skills. Students learned more about our resources and the ways to use technology in more ways than just social media.  They learned how to do research in a way that requires them to think and learn. It taught them how our relationships are important and not to take them for granted.  For some people it taught the lesson that they must be flexible and accepting in situations.  People started to have more of an ability to work from home, or do school online so it helped gain the separation between professional and personal life.  

March 13th, 2020 is the day everyone faced being told they were not going back to school for at least spring break which then turned into a year and a half for most students.   It’s the pandemic that made many people’s lives very difficult. The effects of this pandemic will be ongoing, only time will tell how students’ mental health will rebound.