More than 40 percent of teens said they felt persistently sad or hopeless during the pandemic, underscoring the toll that COVID-19 has taken on teens’ mental health, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey found.
The CDC survey, released on Thursday, found that among 7,705 U.S. high school students surveyed, 44 percent of them reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row. Thirty-seven percent said their mental health was most of the time or always not good during the pandemic.
Two-thirds of high school students agreed their schoolwork during the pandemic was more difficult than before COVID-19 started and 55 percent said that they experienced a parent or another adult swearing at them or putting them down during the pandemic.
A portion of high school students indicated that a parent or another adult had lost their job during the pandemic, even if it was for a short length of time, (29 percent), while a similar percentage of teens said they rarely or never find time to spend with family and friends during the pandemic (28 percent.)
“These data echo a cry for help,” CDC acting principal deputy director Debra Houry said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students’ mental wellbeing.”
The CDC survey also highlights how teens of color and teens within the LGBTQ community have been impacted differently during the pandemic.
While more than a third of teens reported experiencing racism before or during the pandemic (36 percent), those percentages were higher among Asian students at 64 percent. Fifty-five percent of Black students and students from multiple races also each reported racism before or during the pandemic, the CDC survey found.
“Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and female youth reported greater levels of poor mental health; emotional abuse by a parent or caregiver; and having attempted suicide than their counterparts,” the CDC said in a release.
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