Christian Nelson has had a rough life, to say the least.
The 19-year-old Northeast Side resident has seen her mother go to prison, bounced from house to house, lived on the streets, used drugs, spent time as a sex worker, and endured mental illness.
“It was terrifying; I didn’t know nothing about life,” Nelson said. “I had no guidance. I thought it was normal to wake up and do drugs and watch women sell themselves. That’s just how life was.”
And that was all before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Nelson had made some progress at that point, having found a counselor she trusted and who had helped her. She also was on medication to help control her schizophrenia. But the pandemic shattered her fragile emotional state.
“The isolation and quarantine didn’t help her much,” said her grandmother, Trina Nelson. “She struggled with that a lot.”
Nelson’s case might be extreme, but it’s an example of how the pandemic has affected the mental health of America’s children and young adults. The isolation of being stuck at home during the pandemic’s early days often has been compounded by worries that kids absorb from parents, who perhaps lost a job or fear losing their home.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, between April 1, 2020, and the end of 2020, the percentage of emergency-room visits that were mental-health-related rose 42.5% nationwide among those ages 5 to 24.
Read more at Dispatch.com.