Pandemic’s impression on teenagers’ psychological well being coming into focus

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D’Ankya McGee, 15, (right) and Nick Kleiser, 16, (left) walk up the stairs in the Treehouse. (FOX 9)

From loneliness to isolation, the pandemic has taken its toll on mental health. The global health crisis has hit young people particularly hard.

According to the CDC, visits to the emergency room for children related to mental health in 12–17 year olds rose 31 percent from April to October last year.

The impact of the pandemic on teenage mental health is coming into focus

According to the CDC, visits to the emergency room for children related to mental health in 12–17 year olds rose 31 percent from April to October last year.

D’Ankya McGee, 15, and Nick Kleiser, 16, said at times that it was difficult for them during the pandemic.

“I did MIA for a couple of months,” said Kleiser.

“It was stressful, I felt like I couldn’t connect with some of my friends, I was isolating myself from others,” said McGee.

More than a year after the global health crisis, the effects on the mental health of adolescents are coming into focus.

“I think we’re going to see higher rates of depression and anxiety and likely more suicidal thoughts,” said Sarah Fink, an area manager at Treehouse.

Treehouse is an organization focused on raising teenagers. After months of quarantine due to distance learning and other restrictions, the demand for their service has increased.

“It’s more teenagers who come together, learn to get along with one another, to be there for one another, to hear one another well,” said Fink.

In a challenging year, Treehouse was a resource for McGee and Kleiser.

“As if I knew that they were there for me, no matter what,” said Kleiser.

Both say they have reached a turning point.

“You gave me a safe place,” said McGee. “They are really just my outlet and I feel accepted and loved here, no matter what I go through.”

“If you feel like you’re at it, all you have to do is talk to someone,” said Kleiser. “That’s all you have to do.”

Treehouse has provided free peer support for decades. The youth organization is currently raising money through a virtual campaign called “Path to Hope Challenge”.

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