MSW Students Concerns Regarding Youth’s Mental Health During Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting multiple areas of youths’ lives including social, mental health, and emotional well-being.  Many youths across our nation received little to no information about the COVID-19 virus prior to the stay at home orders being put into place.  Additionally, youths did not receive prior notice about possible changes to their daily routines and intended school disruptions.  New challenges arose when school and home life were forced to coexist in the same place.

Socialization is an important human interaction that youth seemed to have lost as there is little to no contact with their peers or anyone outside of their family.  Much of youth socialization is derived from interactions that they had at schools and extracurricular clubs, which, because of the pandemic were no longer accessible.  The pandemic increased many risk factors including, social stressors and mental illness like anxiety and depression.

In many cases, family interactions suffered and created challenges for youths and adults alike. The difficulty that many youths encountered were not limited to language barriers, interests or connections with family members.  Due to these ongoing stress factors, many youths experienced various mental health issues such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, suicidal ideation, and some even developed fear of losing someone close to them due to the pandemic.

Many youths lacked the ability and rapport to confide with relatives, as well as losing the support from peers at school, and the stability that their daily routines provided.  Although tele-health is an option, not many youths or parents are aware of the availability of the resource or utilize this option.  It is important to bring awareness to this issue as youths across our nation are a vulnerable population dealing with a worldwide pandemic that no one has ever experienced.  Many school districts have now begun providing resource referrals to services that are offered to their students and families.  Services include but are not limited to mindfulness activities, free yoga, self-care, relaxation techniques, and food services in multiple social media platforms.

This entire experience has been extremely challenging, stressful, overwhelming, and anxiety provoking all at once, not only for youths but the entire family dynamic and world at large. As the states start to reopen it is a wonder what new challenges youth and their mental well-being will face.

Thank you,

Cal-State Long Beach MSW Students (Maxine Benitez, Eileen Ching, Lauren Chagoya, Jessica Varela, Velma Raza-Acuna)

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