Covid-19 has impacted students’ mental health more than previously thought

Story by Sophie Stubbert, Messenger Staff Writer

It’s no secret that COVID has had a huge impact on young kids and teenagers. Kids ages 8-18 have been struggling greatly with mental health issues. These numbers have gone up drastically since the virus first started. With most schools still being online or in a hybrid schedule, students do not have access to things that might make them happy. 

Most counselors at school are only doing Google meet calls or Zoom calls instead of meeting with people in person. This is not the same and barely helps kids get the help they need. Students are also missing out on sports and being able to interact with other kids their age. For a lot of young teenagers and young adults, sports are a way they express themselves. With most sports taken away due to COVID, kids are feeling hopeless and restricted to do what they love. 

One of the bigger issues that COVID has impacted our lives is the effect on mental health. Not only is mental health getting worse for adults but it is also increasing in younger kids. High schoolers have been faced with more challenges than ever before. NPR news stated that the level of isolation that these kids have experienced is nothing they have ever experienced before. It is very damaging to these young kids and high schoolers’ health. 

In an Interview with Darin Privett, Emergency Pediatric Medical director at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, he gave more information on what has been going on with kids’ mental health during COVID. 

Locally (Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital) 3 percent of all of our pediatric patients that we saw in the emergency room had to do something with mental illness, whether it be anxiety, depression or suicidal ideas. That was before Covid. That increased to 12 percent during lockdown.” The numbers have quadrupled since COVID has hit. Privett also said, “We were so focused on this portion, this part of the pie of public health, that we forgot everything else.” 

By focusing so much on the virus, most people forgot about the mental health aspect. This is now almost more important than the virus itself. 

Another problem that this virus has caused is the abuse of drugs in teens. There has been more drug abuse than ever before in teenagers. 

“I’ve seen more teenagers in the emergency room with drug related complaints than I ever have before. I’ve seen drug abuse,  I’ve seen child abuse, and I’ve seen domestic abuse. It affects a whole pie,” added Privett.

The amount of abuse that kids and teenagers are enduring is so much more than it used to be. 

“Do you know how many people from 0-18 years old have died in California from covid? 8. In the past year. Do you know how many suicides we have had from ages 0-18 last year? 456. We have completely shut this down and focused on this virus but we’ve totally forgotten about everything else.” Privett says this after we asked if death rates have gone up in young kids and teenagers. 456 children have taken their own lives due to this COVID lockdown and lack of help. It is heartbreaking to hear things like this and act like it is normal or okay. It is not normal and it needs to be fixed. Kids and teenagers need all the help they can get so they feel like they have a purpose. If we keep schools closed and resources unavailable then more and more kids will suffer and take their own lives. It is crucial we get these kids the help they deserve and need.