Pandemic affects younger people in a different way

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

We can all agree that the class of 2020 got a raw deal. Graduation, prom, spring sports were all drastically altered if not eliminated.

Only time will tell whether the classes of 2021 and beyond will experience anything like the traditional transition from youth to adulthood.

One advantage this spring’s graduating class had was the sympathy of adults and the knowledge that COVID-19 restrictions were something everyone had to share.

That might not be true for others, however, particularly those with more tenuous plans, such as graduates who had hoped to go directly into the workforce, but who now discover that jobs are difficult to find in a struggling economy.

The same goes for college graduates, who may find the pandemic is hampering their ability to move on to the next stage of life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found, unsurprisingly, that nearly 41% of adults, in the last week in June, reported at least one “adverse mental or behavioral health condition.”

More that one in 10 respondents said they had considered suicide in the past 30 days, with higher percentages among upaid adult caregivers, essential workers and Hispanic and Black responders.

And, among those in the 18- to 24-year-old group, 25.5% answered yes.

Of that group, nearly 63% reported anxiety and depression, and nearly 25% reported starting or increasing use of substances to cope with pandemic-related stress or emotions.

Overall, three-quarters of 18-to-24-year-olds reported at least one bad symptoms — worse than those 65 and up, of whom only 15% reported at least on of the symptoms.

The CDC offers a number of mental health tips for dealing with the pandemic.

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