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Half of Parents Report Pandemic Negatively Impacting Teen Mental Health

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 -- Parents report that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of their teens, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health is conducted by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The survey included 977 parents of adolescents (ages 13 to 18 years) and focused on the emotional impact pandemic restrictions have had on their teens.

Three in four parents say COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their teens being able to interact with friends. Negative impacts on teens' mental health include anxiety, depression, sleep issues, withdrawing from family, and aggressive behavior. Half of parents have relaxed family rules to allow their teen more contact with friends. Half of parents report relaxing family COVID-19 rules to allow their teen to have more contact with friends, with most (81 percent) saying it has helped. Furthermore, half of parents also reported loosening social media restrictions, with most (70 percent) saying it has helped. One in four parents sought out the help of a mental health care provider for their teen, while one-fourth encouraged their teen to try a web-based program or app to improve their mental health.

"Just as young people are at the age of being biologically primed to seek independence from their families, COVID-19 precautions have kept them at home," poll codirector Gary L. Freed, M.D., said in a statement. "Isolation during the pandemic may be triggering new problems for some teens but for others, the situation has exacerbated existing emotional health issues."

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