The world is going through a unique and difficult time. There are people all over struggling for a number of reasons. However, for right now the focus of this website will be teens in high school. According to the American Psychological Association in 2000, the average teen had more anxiety than a child psychiatric patient in the 1950s (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2000/12/anxiety#). Since this article was written in 2000 you can only imagine how high teens’ anxiety levels have risen in the past 21 years, and now teens are more prone to stress because we are in the midst of a pandemic.
What Are The Numbers?
What Is One Of The Leading Contributors To Teens Anxiety?
The biggest contributor to teens’ anxiety during the pandemic is isolation. Although you may be thinking teens are hardly alone these days it is simply not true. Just because someone has 1000+ followers on all their social media, or seemingly gets along with everyone at school does not mean they actually feel connected to other people. Now those silly and simple interactions in the hallways at school seem so much more important. Because those small interactions show real connection but now people are just staring into a screen and losing that important human interaction.
What are the biological effects of isolation?
In humans, intense social isolation can have harmful health effects. Social isolation has been associated with increased blood pressure, C-reactive protein, and fibrinogen levels, none of which are good. Someone who has been in isolation is also associated with an increased risk to be inactive, have motor decline, and impaired cognitive functions. Not only has loneliness or living alone been linked with poorer immediate and delayed recall and dementia, but it has also been linked to people having higher odds of mental health problems. Social isolation can as well result in health-risk behaviors such as smoking, and reduced self-related physical health (i.e. lack of movement). Therefore, social isolation not only affects people cognitively, and psychologically but also biologically (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2020.589621/full).
How can we help and bring high school students together?
My solution to this problem is quite simple. Although this is still tentative (hence the, for now, solution) I would like to create a google form for students to fill out and then proceed to ask them questions about things they enjoy like different television shows, movies, books, and sports teams. After analyzing the different answers I would pair up people and provide them with each other’s contact information and then help plan them a socially distanced outing. I think this would give students a great opportunity to meet new people with similar interests or with completely opposite interests (if they like). Now I would like to ask for your help in writing my form! Please fill out this Google form by writing a fun question I can put on my form! Button to Google Form:
Dr. Sandra Pimentel, a great psychologist and an associate director of the adolescent program at Montefiore.