The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t just sink its vicious claws into millions of people’s physical health–it has taken a dangerous toll on mental health as well. In a world fueled by connection and interpersonal experience, over a year of staying home wasn’t an easy feat for anyone. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing procedures have affected the mental health of young people in many ways. Despite most Americans experiencing the same pandemic, the impact that the virus had on mental health was not universal for every sector of the young population.
Rather, COVID’s impact on mental health is widely dependent upon teens’ preexisting demographic factors. While many teens have reported increased loneliness, depression, and suicidal thoughts due to the pandemic, these effects were heightened based on minority status due to ability, ethnicity, pre-existing mental health conditions, and financial status.
One thing that I’m taking away from this rollercoaster of a year is that we really are all in this together. We may all come from different walks of life, but at the end of the day, all we really want is for the people we love to be safe and healthy, and for society to get back to how it was before the pandemic. Mental health is just as important as physical health–and that means that it’s equally as important to check on the person behind the mask as it is to wear one.