The Pandemic and Mental Health: Will we go back to “normal?” Or is it time for a change.

Recalling the struggles of this pandemic and examining how humanity can better prepare itself for a future of resilient human societies

Since the first reporting of COVID-19, the CDC has been issuing reports that adolescent hospitalization is on the rise.[1] However, the issued report on June 4th only emphasized the deadly nature of the disease. While failing to inform readers of the psychological toll COVID-19 had on the mental health of young persons.

According to the complete study, 20% of teenage hospitalizations between January 1 and March 31, 2021 were for psychiatric emergencies alongside another 5.9% attributed to trauma, which also correlates with psychological distress. The reporting focus might gear towards support for more vaccinations as a direct solution of COVID-19-related hospitalization. However, the long-term neglect of mental health support infrastructure did not gain more media attention [2]. While the global scientific community continues with its innovative efforts in vaccine development, the complete report begs readers’ attention for “total preparedness,” which will be necessary for a pandemic-free world to develop.

  The available data points to a failure disease prevention, as presented by the current exhaustion in medical supplies. Major economic powers, such as the US, Brazil, and India, have experienced large medical-supply shortages that render medical professionals helpless in the face of the virus. As of June 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was continuing to report medical-supply shortages for testing supplies and equipment; [3] Brazil and India have reported similar, if not more serious, struggles for their healthcare service providers. Negative media coverage will only deepen the sense of insecurity and discomfort experienced by teenagers, who are reported to have higher chances of suicidal thoughts and substance abuse than adults.[4] Experts have supported the idea that now is the best time to re-evaluate investments in human well-being.

            While the pandemic continues to surge and schools remain closed, it is hard to predict the mental health impact this crisis will have on the young. The government needs to take preventive measures to ensure that young people adapt to these demanding times and needs to offer a wider support network for the young to assist them in creating a world for themselves. Knowing the power of youth leadership in making positive and long-lasting change in their home communities, youths can now target for impact leadership program, such as learningtogive, offers scholarships for social change, and justice societies to bring awareness to the needs of the younger generation. Social advocacy is still the preeminent tool to get opinions heard in a thriving democracy. When decision-makers empower adolescents to use their voices for good, their communities are more inclusive, and the culture of their communities can then evolve to higher empathy and tolerance.

[1] Hospitalization of Adolescents Aged 12 – 17 Years with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 – COVID-NET, 14 States. Hospitalization and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). June 4th, 2021. CDC Website.

[2] Gandhi, Monica; Noble, Jeanne. The pandemic’s toll on teen mental health. Wall Street Journal. Website. Cited on June 15th, 2021.

[3] Medical Device Shortages During the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency. FDA. Website. Cited on June 15th, 2021.

[4] Panchal, Nirmita; Kamal, Rabah; Cox, Cynthia; Garfield, Rachel. The implications of Covid-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use. KFF. Website. Cited on June 15th, 2021.

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