A Pandemic of Mental Health: The Effects of Covid upon Teenagers

Dr. John DeGarmo
6 min readApr 18, 2022

A pandemic continues to sweep through the United States, a pandemic of depression.

According to a new study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on mental health issues of teenagers during Covid, more than a third of teens experienced poor mental health during the pandemic. Along with this, just under half, or 44 percent, of teens said they felt persistently sad or hopeless during the same time period.

In addition, more than a third of high school students — including nearly two-thirds of Asian students and more than half of Black students — reported experiencing racism before or during the pandemic. Youth and teens who reported that they had been treated badly or unfairly in school because of their race or ethnicity were also less likely to feel connected to people at school, as well as having a greater risk of issues related to poor mental health.

Dr. Debra Houry, the acting principal deputy director at the CDC, stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students’ mental wellbeing. Our research shows that surrounding youth with the proper support can reverse these trends and help our youth now and in the future.”

The tremendous uncertainty during Covid has led teens to feel a sense of additional anxiety. Dr. Lisa Coyne, senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute in MA, said that teenagers are “ at this developmental period where they are going to seek autonomy and independence, and that’s also a scary thing sometimes. In addition to that, their whole world […], all of our worlds have been thrown into disarray, but especially for them, they have a story about what the teen years are supposed to be like. That story is getting rewritten in real-time.”

The attempts by teens to commit suicide during the Covid Lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 has risen dramatically, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Girls between the ages of 12 to 17 were found to have tried to attempt suicide increased by roughly 51% in early 2021 than the same time frame in 2019, pre-Covid. In addition, boys in the same age group had a 4% increase of suicide attempts, as well.

Dr. John DeGarmo

Leading foster care expert and international empowerment speaker