Study shows majority of teens struggle mentally going back to school

The first day of school is quickly approaching and as parents worry about their kids having supplies, they should also be thinking about their state of mind.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The first day of school is quickly approaching and as parents worry about their kids having supplies, they should also be thinking about their state of mind.

A study from Telosity shows more than 50 percent of teens are concerned about attending school in person, with catastrophic events such as school shootings taking the biggest toll on their mental health. Family, friends, societal expectations, and COVID-19 are some of the other causes of mental health struggles.

“There’s a lot of fear around the different stages in which COVID was spreading we saw surges and there’s a lot of social expectations that kids have and there’s a lot of peer pressure,” said Anish Srivastava, Founder and General Partner of Telosity by Vinaj Ventures.

The study also shows that when it comes to peer pressure, part of it is centered around masks not being mandatory in schools. Due to the dynamic between those who were and those who weren’t wearing them.

“Our area schools are really prioritizing that as of late,” said Jessica Shepard, ESU9 School Psychologist. “Some of that is because we’ve received some grants and funding like through the Nebraska Department of Education and it’s also because schools see that there’s a need. There is youth that is saying we need support and help.”

Shepard works with schools in Central Nebraska through the Nebraska Department of Education’s Mental Health Institute grant to help kids learn how to deal with emotions and problem-solving.

“Kids are more plugged up to a screen or a device than they ever have been before,” said Liesel Hogan, Licensed Independent Mental Health Therapist. “I know from talking to the kids that I work with that they are spending high numbers, high hours per day on a screen and if you’re on a screen you’re not moving, you’re probably not eating well.”

According to Telosity, technology is one of the ways teens can get some relief from their life problems. With 70% of the survey respondents said tech has actually had a positive impact their mental health

“We’re trying to mask feeling. Video games, the apps, all of that said it’s going to light up the pleasure system just like drugs do. If I have a bad interaction with my friends I’m just going to check out and scroll on my phone. I’m going to feel good because it’s going to light up my pleasure system and I’m going to be fine, but we’re not actually dealing with the original problem,” said Hogan.

Hogan also said, teens seeking technology as an escape valve are not developing problem-solving skills.

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