For high school seniors, there has been very little ‘pomp’ this year because of the circumstances.
COVID-19 meant graduations held outdoors with restrictions and spring activities, like prom, didn’t happen.
Mental health experts say US teens were experiencing alarming levels of anxiety and depression before COVID-19. Now, they say kids have increased feelings of loss.
“What they are experiencing is probably not that different from grief.” Elizabeth Koschmann, director of a youth intervention program said. Koschman’s program works with kids ages 8-18 by practicing coping strategies.
It’s been successful in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. Koschmann says parents should watch for signs that their teen is struggling with depression, like a change in personality. A teen may withdraw or sleep excessively.
Parents should do the following:
- Validate their child’s loss
- Support them socially
- Help them develop coping skills
Also, find ways to celebrate their success as grads move into the next chapter.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect spelling for Elizabeth Koschmann. The error has been corrected.