LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— COVID-19 has held a tight grip on the world for more than a year, and for many, it means an added stress, making that fight to protect your mental health, that much harder.

It’s easy to think children and teens are resilient, but they like all people, can suffer from mental illness, and the pandemic takes a toll on them as well. For 16-year-old Lansing teen Dedrick Pete, COVID-19 has not made his battle with depression, any easier.

“I’ve been trying to look on the positive side, but it gets kind of hard. Through times like this, you just feel really alone a lot of the time,” said Pete. “And you start to close yourself out, and you get used to dealing with things on your own even when you don’t need to.”

Pete says in pre-pandemic times, he used to speak with his friends, and that helped, but as time has gone by, he’s closed that out too. His mom agrees and says social isolation due to the Coronavirus, has taken her son’s outlet of relief from him.

“We have struggled with forcing him to get up, telling him just sleep you know. Just wanting him to be at peace, and to give him whatever brings that peace without sacrificing mental stability and grades in school and that’s almost impossible some days,” said Pete’s mother Wendy King.

Their goal, help their son through support and help him in his fight. It’s a challenge they take together step by step.

Teens & A Developing Brain

According to Doctor Kimberly Hoogie, Co-Author of “Mental Health 101 for Teens”,  when it comes to mental health, everything starts in the frontal lobe of the brain, and it can be even more challenging for a developing teenager.

“Your brain isn’t necessary letting you work at full capacity. You’re sort of dealing with a short depth developmentally. You have to understand when you’re a teenager that’s just all part of the process. Those social experiences that you have will help you develop.  And the decisions that you make will help you learn what decisions you need to make in the future.”

Her advice, talk to your children, sharing personal mental health struggles, can help teens realize they’re not alone.

“It’s really important to listen to your kids… share your mental health with them. Let them know mental issues are not issues that we have when we’re teenagers, adults have them too…They need to understand that everybody experiences stress. Everyone experiences depressive moments in their life.”

Get Help

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can get mental health assistance by clicking here.

The number for the National for National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

You can also find help by clicking here.