Overview: Arguably, the unprecedented times presented by the COVID-19 crisis have taken the hardest toll on teenagers. The teenage years are crucial for forming social skills and finding tools to use as adults, yet what happens when the majority of peer interaction is suddenly unavailable? Teenagers, especially in this day and age, heavily rely on technology to communicate with their friends, but how does technology being the only form of communication affect teenagers’ mental health and overall social skills? Through interviews and questionnaires, this study will work to provide insight into how this crisis has affected teenagers’ mental health in and around our community along with providing access to resources to aid those who are struggling. 

Driving Questions:

-How has COVID-19 has affected the mental health of teenagers in and around our community?

-Teenagers, especially in this day and age, heavily rely on technology to communicate with their friends, but how does technology being the only form of communication affect teenagers’ mental health and overall social skills?

-The teenage years are crucial for forming social skills and finding tools to use as adults, yet what happens when the majority of peer interaction is suddenly unavailable?

Final Product: My final product would be a presentation potentially given to the AP Psychology class, Peer Ed classes, SLAB, Student Government, and potentially an assembly. The presentation would mainly focus on the findings from my research. For the Peer Ed classes and the AP Psych classes, the end of the presentation would include tools they could use if they are struggling with their mental health and how to find resources. To the SLAB and Student Government, the end of the presentation would address ways in which Durham Academy can complement and improve its resources provided to students on this topic, using the student input from the final survey, a survey asking for the student’s voice on this issue. Ultimately, I aim to educate our community on this issue and help make the previously established resources as clear and accessible as possible for the DA community.

Resources:

COVID-19: How Missing Milestones is Impacting Teen Mental Health”

“The Effect of COVID-19 on Youth Mental Health”

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Lisa Damour.

Why?: This study is very important and personal to me, as I my mental health, along with many of my peers, was affected by these unprecedented times. I feel as though learning and understanding more about it will not only aid me but if I can effectively relay and present my findings, it also has the potential to help our community. I believe that it is important to educate people about this topic, one that is current and often not fully understood. Many people think they have an understanding of what mental health is, but it’s not a complete picture. With the information I gather, I hope to educate our community about what compromised mental health could look like during this crisis and how it presents itself in different ways and ultimately, normalize this kind of conversation.