How COVID Has Affected Teens: The Stats

Teen mental health statistics were staggering even prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, how has time in lockdown affected young people? Has it improved or exacerbated the mental health of teens? In truth, it is simply too soon to tell for sure how far reaching this pandemic has been, and continues to be, on teen mental health. But there is plenty of data that can help us put into perspective how important it is to take care of our teens during this unprecedented time. Keep reading for teen mental health statistics that shed light on the underlying impact of Covid-19.

Teens & COVID-19

Although Covid-19 poses a low risk to young people, teens still suffer immensely because of it. In their efforts to help keep adults safe, teens have sacrificed normalcy and in many cases their mental health. Prior to COVID, teens were already enduring a mental health crisis. According to the CDC “7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety… [and] 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression.” In addition to these numbers, many of our teens go undiagnosed and untreated for serious mental health conditions. Those without diagnosable conditions often still experience extreme stress, feelings of negativity, loneliness, and other severe challenges.

Prior to the pandemic, studies indicated that suicide was the third leading cause of death for those aged 10-19 in the United States. Now, with teens removed from school, isolated from their friends, and spending more time online than ever before, these alarming teen mental health statistics are likely to be much more staggering.

What We Know 

Early data on teen mental health statistics indicates that the impact of Covid-19 on young people is severe. In a recent survey, by Harris Poll for the National 4-H Council, of approximately 1,500 teenagers, 70% indicated they are struggling with their mental health. On top of that, around 80% of these respondents shared that it can be difficult to ask for help. 

In this same study, over 40% reported struggling with depression and over 50% reported they experienced anxiety. These effects are not necessarily short term. The hardships teens are experiencing now set the tone for their future — simply put, the struggles that teens are enduring now could seriously affect them for the rest of their lives.

What We Can Do

Keeping the world as safe and healthy as possible is certainly a top priority. But one thing we all can work towards is making sure that our teens are not left behind. The mental health crisis among adolescents has grown exponentially during the pandemic. As those least in danger from the virus, but perhaps most in danger from the mental and emotional effects of the virus, getting teens the help they need must become a priority. Teens are working hard to protect the rest of the population physically, it is imperative that adults in turn protect them mentally.

Access to teen mental health resources that teach social and emotional learning are an invaluable tool to help improve the lives of our teens and get them through this pandemic safely. Tilly’s Life Center offers virtual workshops to teach teens these vital skills to help them cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. To find out more, visit