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.
- In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors.
- If you are sick and need to be around others, or are caring for someone who has COVID-19, wear a mask.
- If the COVID-19 Community Level where you live is
- Wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk.
- If you are at risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about wearing masks indoors in public.
- If you live with or will gather with someone at risk for severe illness, wear a mask when indoors with them.
- If you are 2 or older, wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk (including in K-12 schools and other community settings).
- If you are at risk for severe illness, wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection.
- 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 meditate. 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 professional. 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 help now.
Everyone 12 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.
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 Helpline: call or text 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish).
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline): 988 for English or Spanish, or Lifeline Chat. TTY users can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
- Get Help in a Crisis
Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889
- Treatment Services Locator Website
- Students: Care for Yourself [688 KB, 1page]
- Young Adults: Care for Yourself [839 KB, 1 page]
- Helping Kids and Teens Deal with Grief
- Stress Management and Teens
- Resources to Support Adolescent Mental Health
- Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event [290 KB]
- Mental Health During COVID-19: Signs Your Teen May Need More Support
- Anxiety and Depression in Children
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network: COVID-19 Resources
- SAMHSA Suicide Prevention
- Teen Depression
- Teens and Suicide: What Parents Should Know
- How LGBTQ Youth Can Cope with Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19
- Bullying and Suicide [1.9 MB]
- Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs
- Five Action Steps for Communicating with Someone Who May Be Suicidal