UNDERSTANDING THE NUANCES: NAVIGATING THE MENTAL HEALTH LANDSCAPE OF INDIAN ADOLESCENTS IN THE COVID-19 ERA

Main Article Content

Paarth Kumar
Dr. Harsh Shah

Keywords

Indian adolescents' mental health, COVID-19, Adolescent, Academic pressures, Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Abstract

Background: The mental health of Indian teenagers was already a concern pre-pandemic, with notable issues and high youth suicide rates, as per the National Mental Health Survey of 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, introducing online learning and reduced social interactions, have potentially exacerbated these concerns. Given this context, insights from psychiatrists become crucial to comprehending the evolving mental health landscape among Indian adolescents during these challenging times.


Aim:  This research investigates the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on teenage students at Ahmedabad Secondary School. By analyzing students' self-perceptions and coping mechanisms alongside insights from Indian psychiatrists, the study aims to offer a holistic view of adolescent mental well-being during this crisis. The ultimate objective is to inform potential interventions and support strategies.


Materials and Methods: A dual approach was used. Firstly, questionnaires capturing self-perceptions, emotions, coping mechanisms, and the pandemic's impact were administered to students. Secondly, psychiatrists were surveyed to discern their observations on the mental health trends among teenage students.


Results: The student data revealed mixed levels of satisfaction in personal (53.5%) and school life (46.5%), with 62% identifying academic pressures as primary anxiety sources. The pandemic further exacerbated mental well-being challenges for 41% of students. On the clinician front, there was recognition of a significant number of moderate to severe mental health issues in adolescents. Cognitive-behavioral therapy was highlighted as the most adopted therapeutic approach.


Conclusion: The multifaceted challenges faced by Indian adolescents, compounded by the pandemic's effects, are evident. The importance of integrating school-centric interventions with therapeutic modalities, as indicated by the dominance of cognitive-behavioral therapy, cannot be overemphasized. Collaborative efforts among educational institutions, healthcare providers, and policymakers are essential to foster a nurturing environment addressing the mental health concerns of India's youth.

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