Quaran-Teens Help Them Manage Their Mental Health
Your Family|June 2020
Teens climbing the walls during covid-19? Restlessness isn’t the only thing to be concerned about, writes daniella renzon, community service clinical psychologist
Daniella Renzon
Child psychiatrist Dr Heather Alisson warns parents not to underestimate the impact that the Covid-19 lockdown may have on the mental health of our teenagers. She says, ‘Being a teenager is difficult in itself. Now teens are faced with uncertainty beyond what they have ever been asked to deal with before. Lockdown, and the phasing-in approach, means navigating their social world in new ways and the uncertainty around their education is compounded by economic uncertainty for the country as a whole.’ Above and beyond the current pandemic stresses, school closure means teenagers are experiencing a lot of anxiety around the uncertainty of their academic year, especially those in Grade 11 and 12, as their academic results could impact their tertiary education entrance and bursary opportunities. Some learners may resent being homeschooled and some may fear having to repeat the year altogether. And, not every home has access to online resources or a private workspace, leaving our teens struggling to concentrate.

Dr Alisson agrees that pandemic stress can impact teenagers’ ability to learn. She says, ‘Uncertainty around Covid-19 can cause anxiety, exhaustion and fatigue. If anxiety effects our functioning then it’s like trudging through mud mentally, feeling a fogginess in our thinking processes. This impacts our ability to concentrate and remain motivated.’ Any dysfunctional behaviours or relationships in a family can be exacerbated during this period when everyone is forced into a confined space together.

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