Stressed? Depressed? Warning signs (and helps) for teens amid COVID-19

April 16, 2020

Two important factors that provide security for a teenager are home and school, both of which have been disrupted by the coronavirus. The current expectations of home and school life are so new that it’s hard to relate to how things are now versus how things used to be.

Plus, no one knows how long our current state will remain a reality. With all this change, stress and even depression can become an issue. Stress and depression are serious problems for teenagers in normal times, and even more so amid a global pandemic.

Stress is characterized by feelings of worry and sadness, or frustration and added tension. Wanting to withdraw from others for more than a few hours may be associated with stress. Depression is connected to more extreme feelings of hopelessness, sadness, worry, isolation and withdrawal that last several weeks or more.

So how do you recognize if what you are experiencing is more than simply adjusting to change? What if it is depression?

Many times with depression, there is a shift in how you think and act. You may have no motivation to do anything, feel withdrawn and have a desire to keep to yourself for long periods of time. You may sleep longer than normal. Your eating habits may change. You could have no appetite at all, or you may want to eat everything you can get your hands on.

You may feel apathetic and lack concentration. You may experience sadness that grows the longer you are confined to your home. Or you may become anxious and worried to the point of hopelessness.

Two important factors that provide security for a teenager are home and school, both of which have been disrupted by the coronavirus.

Most teenagers respond to stress in normal times by doing something relaxing, like hanging out with friends. These interactions help them think positively about life and use problem-solving techniques to relieve the difficulty that is causing the stress. Since such interactions may not be possible, here are some options you might want to consider.

  • You still have online schoolwork to do. Commit to do your best in spite of the current circumstances.
  • Get your school work done so you will have time to spend on other activities that reduce stress, like listening to music. Try worship music to take your eyes off your circumstances and place them on Jesus Christ who has the power to change all things.
  • Make up your mind to improve in one area of your life while you have a little more time to plan and put things into action. Maybe it’s to play more basketball or start an exercise program. Decide to walk at least 30 minutes a day, and increase that time every three or four days. Practice the piano. Read a book. Better yet, ask a friend or two to read the same book and then FaceTime to discuss what you read.
  • Utilize technology to do a small group Bible study with friends. Ask your youth minister or parents for ideas.
  • Organize a scavenger hunt with friends. Get all of them online, give them something they have to go find and whoever comes back first wins.

Additionally, statistics say that this generation spends more than 9 hours per day with technology and media. Instead of listening to all the updated statistics about those infected by the virus, try some of the following alternatives.

  • Survey how many songs you listen to that are not uplifting and don’t allow you to see hope in the midst of trouble.
  • Consider your choice of media. Do you consume media or gaming that is violent or promotes harm to others, whether those individuals are real or imagined?
  • Don’t just sleep or lounge in bed. Get up about the same time each day and try to stick to a daily schedule. Make a list of things you want to accomplish each day.

During these uncertain times, remember that God is in control. This virus did not surprise Him. Plus, this virus came in an age when we have technology that allows us to reach out to our friends and family almost instantly.

Technology is also allowing churches to continue sharing the truth that God is in control and He has a plan for all to be in a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Hope during any time is found in a relationship with Jesus!


by Merrie Johnson  /  Youth Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

4 kinds of pastors whose churches need revitalizing

Revitalization is one of those things pastors Google when no one else is looking. As I travel across the state, I meet pastors who minister in a variety of contexts — rural, urban, small, large, plants and even replants. Some of these pastors know their church is in need of...

5 ways pastors should respond to setbacks in ministry

Things don’t always turn out the way we desire. Oftentimes, we find ourselves asking questions about why something happened, or why we didn’t see it coming. We wonder why God allowed it or have difficulty seeing how God’s plan is being accomplished through it. Phrases such as...

How families can adopt a family discipleship plan

Many parents have made 2021 the year of discipleship for their family. They have taken the challenge and implemented the “Family Discipleship Plan” in their homes. Moms and dads have made this a priority because they know they have been given the wonderful privilege of being the...

Why leading your child to Christ is a process, not just a prayer

I remember praying a prayer at age 5. As a Cubby in the Awana program at our church, I was slightly intimidated by the leader who took me into the darkened chapel and asked me if I wanted to go to heaven to be with Jesus. I didn’t know what that meant. I may have asked a few...

3 steps to being missional in your community

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with heightened racial and political tensions, have sparked massive conflicts throughout our state and nation in the last year and a half. However, in the midst of the chaos, families have a unique opportunity to be missional in their homes and...

God’s presence provides comfort in times of transition

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions!” These words by the late William Bridges, who was a leading authority on organizational leadership, have been ringing in my mind throughout the last year. When our country went into lockdown due to the pandemic, it was an...

Students: An untapped resource for serving in your church

I’ve heard it said that students are the church of tomorrow, but I really struggle with that — I believe students are the church of today and the future church leaders of tomorrow. Students need adults who love Jesus, love them and take the time to disciple them. They need...

12 ways to involve every church member in VBS

Often churches consider Vacation Bible School (VBS) to be exclusively a children’s ministry event. And yet, VBS is one of the most effective evangelistic emphases many churches offer their community each year. According to "It’s Worth It" by Landry Holmes of Lifeway Publishing,...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!