COVID-19 has sent young people into a spiral of emotions, and who can blame them? After nearly two years (yes, two- can you believe it?) in a COVID world, we are seeing the effects of in-person, hybrid, or online schooling in our teens. One of our very own, Brooke Doster, sat down with KEZI to talk about how we can help our teens through something this traumatic. Brooke talked about the work being done here at Reach Out Oregon and Oregon Family Support Network and how we can help parents, in turn, help their kids and teens through the current behavioral and mental health crisis.
Isolation from friends and family through this pandemic has been especially hard for our kids. When you are accustomed to having time to play sports, get ice cream with friends, or have a good old-fashioned sleepover, it’s suddenly a strange and traumatic existence for teens. It’s important to know some of the signs of depression and anxiety:
- Sudden changes in mood
- Lack of appetite or sudden increase in appetite
- Low energy level
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in academic performance
As a parent, it is sometimes difficult to get our teens to open up to us. Encourage them to talk openly not only with you but with friends. Teens have a great opportunity for peer support, as they are all going through this together. Feelings and emotions including sadness, disappointment, even anger are acceptable feelings in the middle of a world-altering, life-changing experience. If friends may not be an option, consider seeking counseling if it’s financially feasible, get outside more often- even in the rain, or call Reach Out Oregon because we know how you feel and we can help you navigate.
Parenting is hard in a pandemic, especially while watching your kid(s) struggle. Reach Out Oregon is here for you for exactly that reason. During our Friday discussions, it would be a great opportunity to talk with one another about how we can help our teens, or if you prefer to speak one-on-one, feel free to shoot us a text or call us. Remember that we are always here for you, especially in times of need. Check out KEZI’s interview with Brooke about Oregon’s teens and their mental health here: