This past March marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of what’s become a global pandemic. It’s not surprising that after a year of school closures, remote learning, and the halting of all social activities because of COVID-19, teens and young adults are reporting increasing levels of depression, stress, and anxiety.

To better understand how young people were using social media and digital health tools to address their mental health during months of lockdown, Common Sense partnered with Hopelab and the California Health Care Foundation. Their findings were published in a recent report, “Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health“, and revealed that depression rates have increased significantly since 2018, especially among teens and young adults who have had coronavirus infections in their homes. They also concluded that exposure to hate speech on social media also was also on the rise.

Infographic by Common Sense

Although this news doesn’t come as a surprise to those familiar with education and young people, there is a silver lining: young people are proactive in supporting their own mental health. The report concludes, “Despite the negative content they see, digital media has been a lifeline for many of them to access critical health information, stay connected to their peers, find inspiration, and receive comfort in a difficult time.”

This report, “Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health”, not only gives valuable quantitative data but it also brings the experiences of young people into focus through their own words, and provides insight into how educators can best support them in their mental health journeys.

To read the full report, click here.

About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.