Several medical groups have warned that pandemic isolation from school closures and lack of social gatherings would take its toll on young people’s mental health. Now, according to new government findings released Thursday, more than 4 in 10 U.S. high school students said they felt “persistently sad or hopeless” during the pandemic.
The reports are based on anonymous online surveys of about 7,700 public and private high school students from 128 schools during the first six months of 2021. “This really gives us the evidence to say with certainty that the pandemic was incredibly disruptive for young people and their families,” said Kathleen Ethier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Whether they felt isolated due to missing the social aspects of school or simply learning in the same room with their peers, the respondents used the protection of anonymity to clearly share the pandemic’s impact on their emotional health.
A greater proportion of U.S. high schoolers reported feeling persistently hopeless or contemplating suicide during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated an already growing mental health crisis among youth, according to new data from the CDC. pic.twitter.com/hIX4HL0sIj
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Based on a similar survey the CDC conducts every other year in schools, the study returned the following results:
—44% reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless during the past year. A similar survey before COVID-19 hit put the figure at 37%.
—66% said they found it more difficult to complete their schoolwork.
—24% said they went hungry during the pandemic because there was not enough food at home.
—29% said a parent or other adult in their home lost a job and 11% said they experienced physical abuse by a parent or other adult at home.
Check out this article from The New York Times, reporting that many teenagers experienced emotional and even physical abuse at home during school lockdowns because of Covid.
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CDC officials said that the pandemic did not affect teens equally. LGBT youth reported poorer mental health and more suicide attempts than others. About 75% said they suffered emotional abuse in the home and 20% reported physical abuse. By comparison, half of cishet students reported emotional abuse and 10% reported physical abuse, the CDC said.
Let’s reach out to any young people in your life. The CDC says they’re dealing with a mental health crisis. 4 of 10 adolescents saying they feel “persistently sad or hopeless”. Remind any kids you know that they’re treasured and you’re there for them.
— Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) March 31, 2022