Covid-19 time hasn't spared Latvian youth. Although the incidence of the virus is not so common among them, mental health has deteriorated significantly in children and adolescents.
At the end of last year, over 1,660 adolescents between the ages 12 and 19 answered questions about how the pandemic affected them. 70% admitted to having experienced depression in the last two weeks, even more found it difficult to learn, more than 60% experienced intrusive thoughts or were very irritable.
“The teens suffer the most. They suffer the least from Covid itself, but directly from the consequences. But we didn't know those data would be so drastic. 7 out of 10 say they feel bad,” said Nils Konstantinovs, director of the Center for Psychotherapy for Teens and Youth.
Depression, high anxiety, bad grades, addictions, difficulties in establishing relationships. These can be the consequences of what is happening in young people's minds at the moment.
“Parents notice it pretty well. For a large part, grades are already falling. They're getting worried, stressed. What many complain about is that [teenagers are] lazy. Can't sit down at the computer. It is a real effect of stress on the brain,” said Konstantinovs.
The first advice would be simple – to start with good sleep and physical activities.
“If there's something wrong, you usually have to start with the simple things — go out for 40 minutes, or do something to break a sweat. Get sleep, or communicate with someone outside the computer,” said Konstantinovs.
Latvia has long been leading in indicators such as the number of suicides of young people, the use of addictive substances and violence in schools. The latest study shows that depression caused by the pandemic has also joined it.