Effects of lockdown on adolescent mental health and tips to stay mentally healthy
Since December 2019, COVID-19, a novel pandemic disease outbreak from the city of Wuhan, China, has been spreading all over the world. According to the data retrieved from the situation report of WHO, the total number of COVID-19 cases globally has reached over 10 million and around half a million deaths.
As a precautionary as well as preventative measure, governments around the world have imposed lockdown, self-quarantine, isolation, physical distancing, and so on, for the past seven months. There’s not any way to escape from the situation, and for the last few months we all are following the instructions and we are in-home quarantine till today.
This decision might be best for us to stay away from the coronavirus but what about mental health?
Due to the tough situation, most of the people particularly adolescents are developing negative psychological effects, including low mood, anger, confusion, anxiety disorders, substance use disorder, irritability, stress, cognitive delay, insomnia, emotional exhaustion, depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and other mental illnesses.
According to the author of the study, “Rapid Systematic Review: The impact of social isolation and loneliness on the mental health of children and adolescents in the context of COVID-19,” published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Children and adolescents are probably more likely to experience high rates of depression and probably anxiety during and after enforced isolation ends”.
Effects of COVID-19 lockdown on adolescent mental health
- The most common mental disorders that they may suffer from are low mood, anger, confusion, insomnia, irritability, stress, anxiety, depression.
- Those students who were busy in their schools and colleges are staying idle. They are becoming inactive during the lockdown period. As they are not engaged in any of the works they are eventually starting to overthink that may hamper in their mental health.
- As we all are maintaining social distance, many of the students may be staying far from their loved ones, like their friends or even the family members. This may create a feeling of loneliness that may lead to depression and eventually to suicidal thoughts.
- Many of the schools and colleges are conducting online classes via different social media. The ongoing pressure on their study by the teachers and parents may create tension. The coercion of parents and teachers may lead to a lack of interest in the study, lack of concentration, demotivation, etc. It may develop the feeling of being useless on children and may create mental intrusion.
- They may engage in smoking or drinking frequently to cope with the stress and anxiety during the lockdown and may be vulnerable to substance use disorder
- The COVID-19 situation may trigger the symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) like washing hands, sanitizing door handles, etc.
- The fear of losing loved and close ones may create mental disturbances.
- If there is conflict at home and there is a hostile environment in the family, then the relationships with their family members may be in turmoil which may lead to depression and even suicide.
Related Article: 6 Free Medicines for your Mental Health
Tips to remain mentally healthy:
During such arduous situations, not only the concerned government, educational institutions, hospitals, organizations, need to make strenuous efforts but individuals should also adopt the necessary measure. Here are some of the tips to overcome this stressful situations:
- Give your mind a break from too much of bad news
- Practice meditation or yoga
- Follow a balanced diet and engage yourself in physical exercises
- Connect and communicate with others through social media or phone calls
- Write down your emotions and thoughts on a regular basis
- Spend more time in nature
- Read books or listen to music
- Learn new skills like cooking, dancing, painting, sketching, etc.
- Get enough sleep
- Attend various webinars related to mental health and COVID-19
- Avoid smoking and drinking
Most of all, remind yourselves you are not alone, the entire world is fighting together with you to overcome these situations and you are stronger than you think. You should be aware of the effects of COVID-19 and seek information to keep yourselves mentally healthy. Never keep within yourselves any feelings about the changes you feel mentally. Talk to your loved ones and share with them your mental state. Communicating your feelings on a regular basis can be instrumental in case you may require professional help.