We live in trying times, and mental health is not only essential but critical, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only one component of mental health is the presence or absence of a mental condition. It’s a crossroads of emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. This year has seen a number of people dealing with serious mental health challenges. In addition to the disease’s clinical impacts, COVID-19 has led in enhanced feelings of despair, isolation, sadness, worry, and depression. It has also led to increased emotions of helplessness, loneliness, grief, anxiety, and depression, as well as alienation from family and friends, quarantine, and movement limitations. As a result, more people are suffering feelings of helplessness, isolation, sadness, anxiety, and depression. As a result, the demand for health-related services has increased dramatically. To address these issues and expand the capacity and availability of help, governments, local communities, and civic organizations must increase resources dedicated to reducing psychological suffering now and after the epidemic has passed.
Mental illness, often known as psychological disorders, is a broad term that encompasses a variety of mental health issues that impact mood, thought, and behavior. Depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors are just a few examples. Mental health is a concern from time to time as many people have it but do not realize it. When recurrent signs and symptoms create regular stress and impair your ability to function, a mental health condition becomes a mental disease.
Mental health is the foundation for emotions, thinking, communication, learning, resilience, and self-esteem. Good mental health is required for relationships, personal and emotional well-being, and making an impact in society. Mental health has always been a significant concern as it affects everyone irrespective of their gender or age. Many people are not fully informed of the implications of mental illness, and many don’t even realize they have it. This illness is quite dangerous, as many know it has taken a toll on them when it is too late.
A pandemic is more than just a medical catastrophe; it has far-reaching consequences for people and society, resulting in turmoil, anxiety, stress, stigma, and xenophobia. The dynamics of a pandemic, including the severity, flow, and aftereffects, are heavily influenced by individual behavior as an organizational unit or a community. Anxiety, distress, social isolation, and an abusive environment can all have a short or long-term impact on a child’s mental health.
The pandemic has affected the everyday livelihood of people, both socially and emotionally. Most businesses were shut down, and many people were either forced to work from home or stay at home with nothing to do. People were affected differently: others succumbed to depression and loneliness while others saw business opportunities majorly online. The pandemic mainly dealt a big blow to the economy, leaving many with nothing to live off as there were no jobs to earn enough to put money on the table. Schools were closed for a very long-time, leaving children, mainly teens, with nothing to expose them to all kinds of environments that may affect them negatively or positively. Most of them had to stay home with nothing to do due to the pandemic restrictions placed by the government. Living as a teenager is already challenging without including a deadly global pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 on their health is irrefutable.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis being one of the factors of psychological illness, the crisis had very much predated the pandemic. Although recent data show a rise in these numbers during the pandemic, the numbers have increased over the last decade, even before the pandemic. Anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, which are all effects of mental health, have been in existence before the pandemic. The number of patients who have mental illness increased during the pandemic. The pandemic just uncovered what was underneath and shed light on the issues that are a challenge to the children (Adrianna, 2022). Many people blame the COVID-19 pandemic since it is the only reasonable conclusion at the time, which is a form of anchoring bias since they are basing their judgements on the information ready at hand without collecting enough data on the matter.
Data from 2009 to 2019 shows that the number of high-schoolers who seriously considered committing suicide has increased by an average of one percent every two years. Roughly the exact percentage is seen between the years 2019 and 2021; 1.1 percentage. The reports on suicide attempts are similar, clearly showing that people were still struggling with mental illness before the pandemic. The numbers have increased since 2009, but also it has increased in recent years. The use of past data to justify the current events in mental illness is a form of hindsight bias. Despite data collected during the pandemic, data collected in the past years is relied on to justify the recent insights into mental illness. Though some researches and surveys exhibit confirmation bias, there is no denying that the pandemic has increased this numbers in recent years, almost making the condition another pandemic.
Through interviews with students at Lincoln High School by the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, young Americans acknowledged severe mental health challenges before the pandemic. Most of the students associated mental illness with a lack of proper attention and care regarding the well-being of one’s mental health. Murthy called for action stressing young mental health. It would be successful in addressing young mental health. Issues of bullying and racism add to the problems that increase the risk of mental illness in high schools. In an interview, Dr Ariana Hoet, clinical director of “On Our Sleeves,” quoted, “racism in adolescents can hurt their self-identity and their feelings about themselves (Gary, 2022). When children experience a lot of racism at school, they experience rejection of their home culture and race, and they end up wishing they were not a part of that family or home because of the insults they receive.
In a recent newspaper article in The New York Times Magazine, C.D.C. reported a high number of girls having mental illness compared to boys. Girls tend to socialize differently than boys, thus explaining the difference in numbers between them. Many of them are affected by social media presence, especially during the pandemic, due to most of them staying indoors and having only their phone to keep them company. It will be easy to blame the pandemic for the recent mental health crisis. Still, before COVID-19, between 2013 and 2019, A.D.H.D. and anxiety were the most common mental disorders among children between 3 to 17 years old, with each condition affecting one in eleven children, according to C.D.C. More than one child in five 12 to 17 years old has experienced a major depressive episode. Yet, in 2019, there were children, fewer than 15 percent, between the ages of 5 and 17 who received some kind of mental-health treatment (Tingley, 2022).
COVD-19 has some harmful consequences, even if the pandemic’s effects are ignored. However, when it comes to resolving the problem, it’s critical to identify the underlying causes. It has had an unmistakable impact on the kids’ well-being. According to research issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2021, more than a third of high school students stated that their mental health suffered during the COVID-19 epidemic, with 44 percent reporting being chronically depressed or hopeless during the previous year. According to data acquired by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from the Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, more than half of high school students report instances of psychological abuse by a parent or other adult at home, such as being put down or insulted. Physical abuse was claimed by 11% of participants. Almost 30 percent reported that a parent or guardian lost a job and they are at home. This has led to financial stressors caused by the pandemic, making emotions flare up the place to the people living in the house.
The pandemic led to schools’ closure, which left a lot of children out of their everyday lives. Students who felt linked to peers and teachers at school were far less likely to feel depressed or hopeless, making them more vulnerable to mental illness. School programs often have provided the connections that some students need in addressing mental health, and lack that, some may lack the proper care they need and pave the way for the depression epidemic, which is now overwhelming the school kids. School attachment is always a key to talking about youth hardships, especially in difficult periods such as the pandemic. As it turns out, staying connected to your friends and teachers is usually life and death.
The recent data also raises concern about a feared rise in suicides. Although the numbers have been rising in the past decade, 20 out of a hundred of high school teens said they extremely considered committing suicide in the prior 12 months. 14 percent felt connected to such thoughts. Six percent of those who felt connected made attempts when it comes to attempts. The kids were twice as likely to attempt suicide if they felt disconnected. Financial pressures, school closures, social isolation and family loss and illness due to the pandemic have led many children to depression, and cases of mental illness have been on the rise.
The pandemic has also led to the closure of some health facilities which help in monitoring the children’s mental health. This has dramatically affected the children’s mental health as many can’t get help as soon as they need it. There is also a lack of proper institutions to offer surveillance and monitor students’ mental health, thus not being able to prevent the inevitable. When children fail to get their mental health checked when an episode comes about, it will only endanger the child’s life more. Children have to be checked once in a while to ascertain their mental health. Health should be a priority in one’s life, especially if it involves a child.
Various newspapers, such as the New York Post, blamed recent mental illness cases on the C.D.C. They report that the C.D.C primarily created the stressors caused by the pandemic. Remember that the agency was the sanctioning authority for a series of public-health policies that were completely ineffective. School closures may likely be the ones with the most severe and long-term implications of all. The measures brought about mixed reactions and separation from friends and love through lockdowns and school closure. Many of the officials have made no acknowledgement of the manifold of errors the C.D.C. and other bodies made.
Despite the many negative impacts, COVID-19 has, it has some positive effects. In an article about Dr Murthy in the Washington Post, one boy in an interview saw the lockdown as a positive because he had more freedom at home than in school. Students in school who were either abused or bullied by their classmates got relief when the schools were closed. Many were able to have peace of mind and retain their mental health to a stable and sound state. So, in a way, the pandemic reduced mental illness but from another perspective. Also, it has brought many families together as parents got to spend more time with their children and monitor their mental health to the maximum (Talal, 2022).
Parents have to be more vocal with their children, especially with matters concerning mental health. They should engage their children in asking about how they feel and ask about suicide in order to remove any chance of them having the idea planted in their heads. Opening a dialogue with children about their feelings and listening without judgment are critical.
Nationally, a recent survey in Annals of Family Medicine found out that 85 percent of primary care practices are having difficulty accessing evidence-based mental health care for children. Some children are waiting six months to a year for help, which is very alarming. Also, they lack adequate mental health care because of its cost.
In this study, I have found interesting facts and issues concerning mental illness in teens before and during the pandemic. From the above articles, data on mental illness has been collected from the past to the present time, during the pandemic. Mental illness cases had been there before the pandemic began. The pandemic has shed more light on matters concerning mental illness, which has taken a toll on children. Without guidance, many children have succumbed to mental illness by having depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Quite a number have tried committing suicide, which should never be the case in the first place. From the articles, we can see different forms of bias exhibited by the writers, basing their arguments based on their findings and understanding of the matter. All articles use a standard organization, C.D.C., to obtain the data on mental illness in the country among teens who show similarities between them.
The articles confirm the presence of a mental health state that needs to be addressed, for it is taking a toll on children. Children are often left out on matters concerning mental health as adults are the first to be paid attention. The child is left at the mercy of school institutions which often lack proper channels to address this issue. Children often go through a lot, and many lack appropriate channels for talking about their feelings. Many end up keeping to themselves what they go through later, leading them to a mental breakdown. Parents should frequently check up on their children to avoid scenarios where their child is in a critical mental state. Mental health affects all parts of fitness as many confessed to not eating food due to sadness. Teens are often left on their own to figure out their feelings which is not a commendable thing to do. Formal institutions and facilities should be put in place to accommodate the rising number of mental illnesses.
Out of the twelve types of biases, biases such as hindsight bias, anchoring bias, availability bias and confirmation bias are exhibited in the articles. In some of the articles, the writers show confirmation bias as they judge the current state of mental illness on the past data, which they were there all along in the end was inevitable. In this type of bias, they sought information to confirm that mental illness was there all along and not brought about by the pandemic, which is true. We have seen data predating the pandemic showing existing mental illness cases and the cases increasing each year before the pandemic.
COVID-19 is not the initiating factor or cause of mental illness. It is one of the many factors that has brought the discussion of mental illness in teens. The pandemic confirmed the information at hand, but many quickly point to the pandemic as the primary cause. It has been put in the spotlight by the pandemic since parents have spent more time with their children and gotten to understand what they are going through. Though this type of bias involves ignoring recent data from disapproving of their knowledge, many writers widely see it.
Another type of bias seen in these articles is hindsight bias, as the writer tends to predict events more after they happen. They used the mental health cases data and started to perceive the outcomes after the events had come to pass, which was the pandemic. The writers tend to have the knew-it-all-along notion as they communicate to their readers. This can lead to overconfidence in their ability to predict future outcomes. A writer needs to be open to all information and views from their readers to come to a final and reasonable judgement.
Anchoring bias is another form of bias that writers mainly see. Writers tend to rely too heavily on the first piece of information they receive. They base all their subsequent judgements or opinions on this fact. From these articles, writers are seen basing conclusions and arguments on the recent data collected during the pandemic, discarding the fact that mental illness vases existed before the pandemic began. Relying too much on current information may hinder coming up with better solutions in solving the problem at hand. Mental illness was just illuminated by the pandemic, bearing in mind cases were there before, but no serious discussions took place to prevent more casualties. Many had blamed COVID-19, and most would say it was a problem before the pandemic happened.
The pandemic has brought many views to attention as the cause of mental illness in the United States. Many view the C.D.C. as the cause of the rise in mental illness due to its mandatory restrictions and regulations. C.D.C. should have chosen a proper but safe alternative to their rules to ease the already burden on cases on mental health. Certain regulations such as lockdowns and movement restrictions have been the leading cause of the surge in mental health patients.
Other articles view the pandemic itself as a cause as it is labelled to be at the centre of the recent economic crisis and unemployment. The pandemic disrupted all which was expected and left behind a crisis that no one knows when we will recover from. A significant number of people blame the pandemic on everything wrong happening today as its impact. The pandemic has changed the lives of many people in many ways. In specific sectors, the number of employees has increased, while in others, employees have been reduced to minimize losses gained during the pandemic. The views of the writers and the students interviewed are valid since they based their argument on the data collected by C.D.C. and other trusted institutions and the experiences of those that have gone through the experience of having a mental health crisis.
Mental health should act to avoid losing children to this disorder. What will it require for our communities and schools to prepare our youth for the COVID-19 epidemic and beyond? As the pandemic continues to disrupt teenagers’ lives, health professionals feel that schools, families, and neighborhoods must work together to offer them educational, social, mental, and physical health services. It’s crucial to engage youngsters in a conversation about their feelings and listen to them without passing judgment.
Efforts to standardize the measuring of mental health care quality are making painfully slow progress around the world. Measuring and reporting the quality of care on a regular basis enables for quality assurance at the provider, clinic, and health system levels, as well as accountability measures like public reporting and monetary penalties and rewards. However, evaluating the quality of mental health care around the world is difficult because it depends on how services are organized. Ways of tackling mental illness have been implemented to cool down the situation. Volunteering has been shown to be an effective method of assisting others. Volunteer work not only draws people together and assists those in need, but it also gives participants a sense of purpose, which can help them feel better and think more positively. Due to the pandemic, many people around the world have used technology, volunteerism, and relying on one another to combat isolation and improve mental health.
Staff, training, facilities, and policies in health care that facilitate measurement-based care are crucial to achieving high-quality treatment. While appropriate structure measures offer the framework for assessing on processes and outcomes as well as undertaking improvement activities, they do not provide sufficient detail to evaluate whether quality services are given as intended (fidelity) or with acceptable results. Many health care centres still have a difficult time providing mental care to their patients as some don’t have access due to some located far away and medical prices being way too high. The establishment of institutions tasked with talking about mental-related issues in the U.S. has not fully materialized. Monitoring mental health in kids should be the priority since it is at the stage where children mould their life. Therefore, proper channels of mental health management should be put in place, especially in schools where children mostly spend their years.
The U.S. government has put measures to improve kids’ mental health, increasing mental health care funding and creating more community centres and inpatient facilities. Broadening our potentials for early psychosocial programs for children by building on creative and community-based child mental health services is essential in preventing future burdens on mental health systems, rather than continuing the worrying trend of the ever-increasing use of psychiatric medication on children.
In this study, states have neglected children in matters of mental health care. As a result, they should pay special attention to children’s and teenagers’ mental health, not least due to the general great burden that the COVID-19 crisis has placed on them. They have been stripped of their normal routines more than any other group, subjecting them to seclusion and an increase in violence and abuse. We must recall that childhood and adolescence are key times in one’s life for mental wellness. Mental illness that strikes during a person’s early years, such as a result of hardship or trauma, has an impact on brain development as well as the ability to form healthy relationships and learn life skills. As a consequence, children and adolescents need non-bureaucratic, minimally invasive access to mental health care as soon as possible, with no stigma attached.
According to evidence, it would be impractical to consider mental health promotion and prevention to be only the job of mental health professionals. Integrated and multidisciplinary services are required to expand the variety of viable interventions, reduce the likelihood of a bad long-term outcome, and save money in the healthcare system. On the other hand, mental health experts have the scientific, ethical, and moral obligation of directing all social, political, and other healthcare bodies involved in the process of satisfying mental health needs in children and adolescents.
The future is seen to be in jeopardy, and great care should be offered to them since they are the leaders of tomorrow. Apart from studies, mental health check-up should be important to the kids since it assures the parent of a normal and healthy outcome for the child in terms of growing up and how they mature. Before the pandemic, mental health had always been an issue, but due to the lack of proper measures and reforms, none of the targeted mental health measures has significantly changed. Mental illness cases are still on the rise, and if not dealt with, they may escalate into an epidemic in the new future, which will significantly disrupt the future of teenagers. Children should also be offered a space to open up about their feelings without any discrimination and actions taken to help them through this tough time.
The continuity of youth mental health requirements from their early years appears to go past what is within the capabilities and duties of mental health practitioners, putting the epistemic status of psychiatry in jeopardy. One of the privileges of the mental health care industry is the provision of suitable therapies from the early stages of illness to long-term illnesses. However, it is becoming progressively clear how important it is to give consistent early intervention at all phases, including preclinical, in order to avoid sporadic support and the reversal of initial benefits. Therefore, the only way to counter mental health will be before the matter escalates to an illness. This will require the government to come up with measures to prevent this illness in kids from an early stage to avoid an increase and deaths related to mental illness due to suicide in the coming years.
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MasterClass. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-identify-cognitive-bias#what-is-cognitive-bias. Sunday, November 2020.
Rodriguez, Adrianna. “‘A cry for help’: More than a third of high schoolers report poor mental health during COVID, CDC study finds.” USA Today (2022).
Tingley, Kim. “There’s a Mental-Health Crisis Among American Children. Why?” The New York Times Magazine (2022).
Warth, Gary. “Surgeon general discusses mental health with Southern California high school students.” Los Angeles Times (2022).