The Effect of COVID-19 on Teenagers’ Mental Health

May 12, 2021
Lior Kolman

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Class of 2022

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As I have grown up people have called our generation ‘the generation of technology.’ For my entire life, I just sat back and accepted that this was the generation I was a part of. I’ll admit, it made sense, with all the iPhones and laptops and gadgets.

On the 16th of March 2020, the entire world flipped upside down. COVID-19 took away a lot from us, but in my opinion, the biggest thing it took away from us was our social life. As COVID-19 hit us, all we were left with was technology. Now you’d think we would be fine with that, after all, we are ‘the generation of technology,’ however, I slowly came to realize that we are, in fact, ‘the generation of social interaction.’

Yes, I’m aware that sounds silly, but let me explain. If we were truly a generation that functioned around technology, COVID-19 and quarantine would have been a breeze, but it was very much the opposite. The mental health of teenagers plummeted during quarantine. This is a line that goes around a lot but let’s take a deeper dive into why…

School. Every child always says how they hate school and waking up early. However, we were all very quick to retract this statement when it was all ripped from our grasp. Gossiping with our friends, cracking jokes in class, sitting in cliques, and eating lunch. Staring at a screen all day, eating lunch alone at your house... School became harder when your wifi lagged, or when your teacher positioned the camera badly. You couldn’t even turn to your friend for an explanation. The end of the day would hit and you’d be exhausted from sitting in the same chair all day staring at a screen.

Before, to relieve ourselves from the stress of school, we would go out with our friends, maybe to a restaurant, a party, or just hang at a friend’s house. Like most things, this was ripped away from us; under lockdown, we are living in this constantly stressful life; school is stressful, you can’t go out to relax and hang out with your friends. For many teens, including me, life suddenly got very dark and hard.

Now, in addition to the stress of school and to not having time to get away, we are living amidst a global pandemic. The uncertainty of this new reality we are living in has destroyed people. Personally, I’m a person who needs to know what’s happening; I like scheduling weeks in advance and being organized. However, COVID-19 took that away: every day is so unpredictable. This has caused my - and many others’- mental health to plummet.

But what can we do? Although we wish, we cannot make COVID-19 disappear. We need to be aware, be patient, and be loving because we are living in the hardest and most uncertain times we have ever had to face. COVID-19 took away more than I could ever describe. But a huge thing it took away was our social life… and the truth is, there’s nothing we can do about it. Our mental health is deteriorating and the only thing we have the ability to do is wait and hope the world improves.

Lior Kolman is a BBG from BBYO: South Africa and she has already been on crutches three times in one year.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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