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 You may have no motivation to do anything, feel withdrawn and have a desire to keep to yourself for long periods of time.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

Leading from online engagement to in-person gatherings

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, every church leader had to make a decision regarding the use of online-broadcasting for their weekly worship services. Some churches chose not to broadcast their services. Others, like ours, decided to utilize technology as a means to continue...

25 ways to make your service ‘family friendly’ as you regather

By now, your church has probably regathered in some format, either outside the building in cars or lawn chairs or inside the worship center with modifications for social distancing. Many churches will wait until fall to reopen children’s ministry areas. If your church is...

Top 5 resources for July 2020

Every month, we spotlight five helpful resources for you as you seek to walk closely with the Lord and make disciples. Many of these resources are created by the staff of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to help meet the ministry needs of pastors and lay...

Getty, Redman headline virtual worship conference

Some of today’s most renowned and influential worship leaders and artists are coming together for a first-of-its-kind virtual training event designed for anyone involved in worship ministry in the local church. The Resourcing Worship Virtual Conference, scheduled for Aug. 1, 2020,...

Guidance for churches on NC’s face covering mandate

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday, June 24, that face coverings must be worn in public places in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Cooper also announced that North Carolina will remain in the “Safer at Home Phase 2” until Friday, July 17.The Baptist State...

Ongoing concerns over SBC declines

Like many of you, I missed gathering with friends for this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. As you know, the meeting was canceled in late March due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Canceling this year’s annual meeting was a...

Hiccups, voices and Uber drivers: The value of coaching

How are you handling the hiccups in your life? Not actual hiccups, but the short-term disruptions to your long-term plans. The current pandemic is a major hiccup we all face, but compared to a lifetime, it is just short-term even though it seems it will last forever. How can we...

Redeem the time on Father’s Day

As I sat there, holding my empty mason jar, tears flowed down my face and splashed into the bottom of the hollow cavity that was once filled with such hope and innocent dreams. My little boy was now a man. A mason jar, you see, holds exactly 936 pennies — one penny for each week...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Stay connected by signing up for our monthly newsletter and events email.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!