Pandemic takes toll on teens’ mental health

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By: Erin Adams (Sullivan HS Freshman), Favour Mamudu (Sullivan HS Junior), Olamide Olaleye (Sullivan HS Junior)

The pandemic has impacted students across the country in many ways and has shed more light on issues that teens face. Mental health in youth and teens has become even more important to discuss in these times. 

We interviewed students from Senn High School and Sullivan High School in Rogers Park and they shared some of their experiences, feelings, difficulties, and hopes concerning the pandemic. 

Erin Adams (Freshman Sullivan High School); Interviewed Safa Yahya Freshman Senn High School

Safa Yahya, a student attending Senn high school, tells us what quarantine was like for them. The pandemic has put a strain on the lives of several people, and Safa Yahya is one of the many to share their story. 

Safa expresses that quarantine has more negative effects than positive effects, the reason being, staying home 24/7 and being limited to movement.

photo by Hajir Hasan

“I have been more like everything whatever. It’s like nothing has been a priority lately. Like, whatever. I don’t really care about anything,” she said when asked how the pandemic has impacted her mental health. 

She also voiced technology has taken a toll on her life. “I’m tired of sitting in front of a screen all day long,” was the response when asked how she felt about having greater access to technology. 

With the pandemic still taking over globally and clutching the lives of many, there have been many lessons learned and much information to take into consideration. For most, there are things they wish they could go back on to make a difference for the future, and Safa is one of those people. 

“I’d probably clean my hands more often and not stand next to people who are sick,”  she revealed. With these regrets, Safa reported she believes it would’ve made a huge difference if those precautions were taken from the beginning.

Favour Mamudu (Junior, Sullivan High School); Interviewed Isabella Chamberland, Senior Senn High School

17-year-old Isabella Chamberlin from Senn High school feels unsatisfied with how the pandemic affected her life. 

She said, “My happiness relied on seeing my friends and doing group activities,” but ever since the pandemic happened, everything changed. 

While always being at home Isabella had to adjust to the new way of living, so she had to discover new hobbies after being isolated. Before the pandemic Isabella played softball and was involved in other after-school activities that required one’s presence, but since the pandemic she had to find new hobbies. Now she is more into art and enjoys painting and making earrings. 

When asked about the impact social media has had on her life, she stated that “social media could impact your life in a positive and negative way. Social media gives you the ability to express yourself and talk about things you care about. It also gives you the ability to find people that relate to the same things as you, but yet again social media could also be an addiction and be in the way of your life.”

Olamide Olaleye (Junior,  Sullivan High School); Interviewed Safa Yahya, Freshman Senn High School

During the pandemic, a 14-year-old student from Senn High School named Safa Yahya was interviewed about her struggles during the pandemic. She is part of the science club and badminton at her school. She misses the clubs because it was an in-person club activity. When the pandemic started, clubs stopped because no one knew how to continue due to the circumstances. 

The pandemic changed everything including her mental health because she was an outspoken person before the incident, but after being at home for the longest time she became antisocial. Now whenever she sees people she tends to avoid them.

“I was stuck at home for the longest time and I am not used to being at home, I could not do anything like a sport and anything like that. I started becoming antisocial and now whenever I see people I can run from them.  I just become less productive and the way that I take care of things because I am responsible for the house because I am always home and I think since I don’t have to go out you know to go to a school that kind of made me lose motivation and I clean up a lot, you know.” 

All she does is stand behind the zoom camera all day because it seems like her whole life is now dedicated to the computer. After a lot of thoughts, Safa decided that her biggest fear is that COVID will last longer than a year which is scary because she wants to enjoy her high school life while not being stuck at home. 

She talked about how the Spanish flu lasted for 5 years and if COVID is like that then her high school years would be gone too. 

“I just want everything to go back normally and safely so that I can see people again,” Safa said.

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