Support For Teens and Young Adults
Some of the questions you might be asking are, “Should I be freaking out about COVID-19?” and “Why can’t I hang out with my friends in person?”. You may be feeling worried, bored, or frustrated. COVID-19 is frightening, and you are not the only one feeling stressed.
While anyone can catch the virus that causes COVID-19 and people of all ages and backgrounds can get severely ill, most people have a mild illness and are able to recover at home. But regardless of your personal risk, it is natural to be concerned for your friends and family or about uncertainty and changes in your daily routine.
There are things you can do to manage your stress.
- Learn about COVID-19. Knowing the facts and stopping the spread of rumors about COVID-19 can help you feel more in control of what is happening.
- Help stop the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands often with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding close contact with other people – even your friends. COVID-19 may be spread by people who do not have symptoms. These actions will keep you from getting sick and spreading the virus to other people you care about.
- Wear masks when you do leave your home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Masks offer some protection to you and are also meant to protect those around you, in case you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. People who should not wear a mask are children under age 2 and anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- You can be social, but do it from a distance, such as reaching out to friends by phone, text, video chat, and social media.
- Find ways to relax. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon. Try to do activities you enjoy, like exercising, gaming, reading or other hobbies.
- Keep to a schedule. Plan times for doing school work, relaxing, and connecting with friends.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs. These substances can weaken your body’s ability to fight infections and increase the risk of certain complications associated with COVID-19.
- Talk with someone you trust about your thoughts and feelings.
- You may be feeling loss or distress over the changes in your life during this time. There are steps you can take to cope with your grief.
Problems with relationships at home and at school, a family history of substance abuse, mental health challenges like depression and anxiety, or a history of sexual abuse can increase your risk for a substance use disorder. Stress, anxiety, and depression caused by isolation and other changes to your way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic can also increase your risk for a substance use disorder. Because of the pandemic, you may be dealing with fear, anxiety, or loss and separation from friends and loved ones.
Early treatment for a substance use disorder can help prevent serious health issues or death. People with substance use disorders are also at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. When a substance use disorder is left untreated, the risk for drug overdose or suicide becomes higher.
If you or someone you know may be at risk for a substance use disorder, talk to a trained professionalexternal icon. You can still get support for a substance use disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t delay getting help because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ask for helpexternal icon now. Everyone 16 years of age and older should get a COVID –19 vaccination as soon as possible.
Different life experiences may affect the risk for suicide. For example, suicide risk is higher for those who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence. Feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, and other emotional or financial stresses are known to raise the risk for suicide. You may be more likely to experience these feelings during a crisis like a pandemic.
You may be particularly overwhelmed when stress is connected to a traumatic event—like a natural disaster or pandemic. Parents and educators can provide stability and support to help you feel better.
There are ways to protect against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. For example, support from family and community, or feeling connected. Reach out to others online, through social media, video chat, or by phone. Having access to in-person or virtual counseling or therapy can help with suicidal thoughts and behavior, particularly during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about CDC’s work in suicide prevention.
Take care of your mental health
You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
Get immediate help in a crisis
- Call 911
- Disaster Distress Helplineexternal icon: call or text 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish).
- National Suicide Prevention Lifelineexternal icon: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chatexternal icon.
- National Domestic Violence Hotlineexternal icon: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotlineexternal icon: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotlineexternal icon: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chatexternal icon
- The Eldercare Locatorexternal icon: 1-800-677-1116 TTY Instructionsexternal icon
- Veteran’s Crisis Lineexternal icon: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chatexternal icon or text: 8388255
Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health
- SAMHSA’s National Helplineexternal icon: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889
- Treatment Services Locator Websiteexternal icon
- Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centersexternal icon
- Students: Care for Yourselfpdf icon
- Young Adults: Care for Yourselfpdf icon
- Helping Kids and Teens Deal with Griefexternal icon
- Stress Management and Teensexternal icon
- Resources to Support Adolescent Mental Healthexternal icon
- Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Eventpdf iconexternal icon
- Mental Health During COVID-19: Signs Your Teen May Need More Supportexternal icon
- Anxiety and Depression in Children
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network: COVID-19 Resourcesexternal icon
- SAMHSA Suicide Preventionexternal icon
- Teen Depressionexternal icon
- Teens and Suicide: What Parents Should Knowexternal icon
- How LGBTQ Youth Can Cope with Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19external icon
- Bullying and Suicidepdf icon
- Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signsexternal icon
- Five Action Steps for Communicating with Someone Who May Be Suicidalexternal icon