TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – As teenagers begin a school year like no other, they are facing a variety of rules that can change by the week: going to school wearing a mask, staying six feet away from your friends, or even learning completely virtual.
This sudden change can take a toll on them, said Dr. Abby Callis, director of quality and outcomes for the Family Service and Guidance Center of Topeka.
“There’s a lot of… misinformation about mental health in the world that if you talk about it or you acknowledge it, it gets worse and we should ignore it to make it better. Mental health does not work that way. It’s just like you wouldn’t ignore a broken bone and think that it will get better,” Callis said.
Seven in 10 teens are experiencing anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll by the National 4-H Council.
Stress, anxiety, and strong changes in mood are signs that Callis encouraged parents to be on the lookout for.
She said if your teen is experiencing any of these, do not be afraid to ask them how they’re feeling, whether it be about school, activities or missing their friends.
Asking them about things occurring in their life uplifts their spirits, Callis said.
“Parents really play a significant, important role in a child’s life,” Callis said. “Even that older teenager that you feel like looks to their friends for all their answers to questions.”
No matter what your teen is feeling, it is important to remember that they can do hard things and will make it through the difficult time, Callis said.