Teens Facing Mental Health Struggles Amid COVID-19

In the best of times, being a teenager is tough, but coronavirus has made a bad situation even worse.

In the best of times, being a teenager is tough, but coronavirus has made a bad situation even worse. “It’s made me a lot more anxious, I would say. Because I feel like I need to be very particular about what I’m doing to stay safe. And I can feel often beaten down, because there’s all this information that I don't really understand,” Odessa Meulbroek told Inside Edition.

The teen, who lives in Rye, New York, says no visitors are allowed in her home.

“You have your own little bubble,” Odessa said.

FaceTime helps, but she misses seeing her friends.

Classmate Ayden Hufford is also feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“I’m sadder than I used to be,” Ayden said.

Before COVID-19, Ayden enjoyed performing in school plays and just hanging out with friends.

“It is a bit more lonely, and it’s kind of upsetting that I’m not able to actually be with them. I do feel like nothing’s really going on. It’s all just kind of like — there’s no big change like there used to. There’s no event or party or celebration that’s going to happen anytime soon that I'm excited for.”

Both teens say they’re not depressed, but they miss their normal routines and worry if their lives will ever get back to normal.

“They're missing out on their extracurriculars — these activities that bring teens a lot of joy and happiness,” Dr. Thea Gallagher, assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania, told Inside Edition. “They don’t have the same places to connect like they usually have. And I think it's so important for teens to have that social support, that social connection.”

Lynn Dolce is the CEO of the Edgewood Center for Children and Families in San Francisco. She says there are warning signs to tell if your teen may be depressed.

“Hours upon hours of self-isolating behavior behind the closed door if they have their own room, disrupted sleep, not wanting to get up, not wanting to get dressed, not wanting to get showered, not wanting to eat meals. Any changes like that in behavior are concerning,” Dolce said.

Mom Emily says she worries about her daughter and other teens.

“I can see why anyone of any age would be depressed right now,” she said.

“I’ll always worry. I’ll always worry, because I’m a mom,” she added.

Dolce has a few tips for teens experiencing the COVID-19 blues.

“My biggest tip is talk talk talk. A card game, a family night, some way to just be together and connect,” Dolce said. “And ask your kids, ‘How are you doing? How was your day?’ Get outside once a day."