Healthy Living: Mental health of teens impacted by Coronavirus pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic abruptly interrupted our daily lives. For teens, their school year was cut short and many life events were cancelled or postponed.

Then, they were forced to stay at home, away from friends.

Doctors say this has caused an increase in depression, especially in teenagers.

For Laicie Ray, her senior year at Cumberland Valley was cut short.

“I felt I lost a sense of closure with school shutting down because there was no warning, no last day of school. It just ended very suddenly,” she explains.

Ray is involved in many student groups, she’s a high-achieving student and was a member of the Varsity Cheerleading squad.

She says looking back, she feels a sense of regret.

“In the fall and winter I don’t hang out with friends because I’m dedicated to cheerleading, so it doesn’t leave a lot of time with social interaction. I typically view the spring as a time for hanging out,” says Ray.

As her in-person school year ended and went “virtual” Laicie says she began to feel encompassed by school 24/7.

Her mother, Tyrisha Roberson, says she has tried to overcompensate for all that Laicie has missed out on, even planning an at-home prom.

“I want her to know we understand where she is and we are caring, too,” says Roberson.

While they wait to see if graduation will happen in-person in August, Roberson says she will have a backup planned at home, just in case.

Ray and Roberson are open in talking about the emotions of the changes they’re faced with. Doctors say this is a good place to start.

If your child is not open to talking, allow them to communicate in other ways like journaling.

If you begin to see changes in your child’s appetite or if they begin to withdraw, doctors say to seek help from a medical professional.

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