Could COVID help identify teens at risk for mental health problems?

April 20, 2021

Teen looking out window.

Teen looking out window. Hedgehog Digital for Unsplash

Adolescence is recognized as a high-risk period for developing anxiety and depression. And COVID-19, with the social isolation, reduced activity and disruptions it brings, could make this an especially vulnerable time for teens.

But for BrainsCAN fellow Pan Liu, the pandemic brings an opportunity to improve the identification of those teens most at risk for mental health problems, and to provide insights for developing prevention and intervention strategies.

Liu studies normative and maladaptive patterns in adolescents’ emotional processing and development, and how this knowledge informs prevention and intervention for anxiety and depression.

“The advantage of this pandemic for my research is that it offers a relatively more objective indicator of a large-scale stressor that impacts the entire population,” Liu said. “It is easier to quantify: when there’s a lockdown, it is a lockdown for all of us.”

Read the full story by Keri Ferguson