Report: Pandemic takes toll on mental health among teens

Suicide was one of the leading causes of death among teens before the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Mar 24, 2021, 12:33 PM

Updated 1,179 days ago


One of the worst side effects of the pandemic is a new wave of mental health issues hitting everyone, especially teens.
A recent report looked at private health care claims for last spring through fall and found that self-harm claims went up nearly 100%, overdoses and substance abuse jumped 120%, and mental health diagnoses went up 90% -- all among ages 13-18.
Suicide was one of the leading causes of death among teens before the pandemic.
"There's a lot of isolation that's happened the last couple of months," says Jenna Vomero, a social worker for Rockland BOCESand with the Partnership for Safe and Healthy Youth, an initiative providing kids and teens with mental health services.
"From last spring to now, we've seen an increase in young people working through issues of anxiety, symptoms of depression," Vomero said.
The jump, she says, is from many factors including the isolation, the change in routine, and fallout within their own families from the pandemic.
"Our young people and our families are seeing trauma in their homes, in their communities, as things are changing," Vomero said. "Maybe a family lost their source of income or utilize resources they've never had to utilize before."
A list of common warning signs a teen may be struggling:
  • Problems at school
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Changes in eating/sleeping habits
  • Low self-esteem
  • Reckless behavior
  • Violence
New York Project Hope has a confidential, anonymous, and free emotional support line at 1-844-863-9314.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can find resources here.

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