Each person has struggled through the last year of the pandemic, and our teens are no exception.
Time passes differently through the eyes of a teen and experiences can hit harder when a teen’s heart and soul are involved. To an adult, what may seem like a year of staying home and staying safe to a teen feels like a year of complete seclusion from everything and everyone they hold dear.
“A half-hour to me is a half-hour, a half-hour to a child is a week,” Jordan Peterson
We sat down and spoke to a handful of teens about their experience this last year. In the back of my mind, we thought of our own personal challenges, whether they were changes at work or isolation from friends and family. But along with negative memories were also positive ones.
This was not the case for the teens.
We asked them a few questions about what their experience was like during the pandemic. For privacy reasons, there are no names attached to the quotes.
What words would you use to describe this year of a pandemic?
"The worst thing that’s ever happened."
What do you miss?
“I miss being able to have general human interaction.”
“I miss cherry fest and pride parade.”
“I miss big events.”
“If I don't see people my OCD flares up. It makes me depressed.”
“I lay in bed and draw all day, that has never changed.”
Did anything good come of last year?
"It made my life worse. I’m in a foster home. Now I have even less freedom. My anxiety and depression are getting worse. I’m only friends with online friends.”
"Nothing good has come out of this year."
"Your friends will abandon you, but sometimes you just have to bear it."
"We’re in the middle of people being mean. It’s awful."
There was no mention of long walks in nature or baking bread for the first time; there was only mention of depression, being alone, losing friends, and losing faith. They looked as though they had lost faith in the world to be just to them. The words “stay safe and stay home” do not begin to cover the complex negativity of what this year has done to the mental health of each teenager.
It has worn its welcome on their minds and energy.
This is not a post that dissuades against the tragedy that Covid-19 has been; it merely brings to the surface the overlooked side effects that have taken a toll on the younger population.
Always remember to check in on your friends and your family. We need to make sure that not only the adults are taken care of, but the kids and teens are too.
This is where LIFT steps in. We are here to provide the teens with positive memories from a year of a pandemic. We are here to be a safe haven and a place of rest. If the kids need a few hours of companionship making an art project or working together to set a new record in Mario Kart - LIFT is the place they come to. Our goal is more than just keeping the teens in our programs safe from physical ailments, but to prioritize their mental health as well. We want to give teens the confidence to chase each of their goals in life and the courage to see it through.
LIFT Youth Center in Suttons Bay, Michigan is here to shed light on the growing teen mental health crisis that is surfacing after the last year of a pandemic and to be a beacon of light for anyone, no matter their age, who is in need of support.
If you want to be more involved with a youth nonprofit and feel like you can make a difference, click here to join us!