Abuse, Violence, Other Events Linked to Poor Mental Health in Teens During COVID Pandemic

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

As new recommendations encourage providers to screen teens for anxiety, a recently published survey found a majority of high school students reported a potentially traumatic event during the COVID-19 pandemic that may have contributed to poor mental health and suicidal behaviors.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found nearly 3 out of 4 students reported at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), like emotional abuse or food insecurity, between January and June 2021, according to the study published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Students who reported these experiences were also twice as likely to report they had poor mental health and up to six times more likely to report suicidal behaviors, like considering suicide, making a suicide plan, or attempting suicide in the past year, compared to students who didn’t report recent ACEs.

Nearly 4,400 nationwide students were asked about physical or emotional abuse, parental job loss, food insecurity during the pandemic, sexual violence, physical teen dating violence, or electronic bullying in the past 12 months. Emotional abuse had the strongest link to poor mental health and suicidal behavior.

The survey comes days after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended Tuesday that providers screen all children and teenagers between 8 and 18 years old for anxiety, which Anderson said can be one of the many mental health outcomes from adverse childhood experiences.

“We’re seeing a lot of young people when they’re returning back to school having issues with social anxiety,” said Dr. Anisha Abraham, acting chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at Children’s National Hospital. “It’s so important to identify these issues before it get worse so they can get support.”

Source: MedicalXpress

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