pandemic adolescents

Dr. Joanna Savarese Interviewed by The San Diego Union-Tribune

January 19, 2022

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has dashed hopes that “this will all be over soon.” In fact, Americans are overwhelmed and fatigued by the seemingly endless pandemic. In his piece on coronavirus’ third year, journalist Gary Warth interviewed The Forum’s own Dr. Joanna Savarese. She provided insight about the effects of the pandemic on school-aged children.

Inconsistencies Prove Exhausting for Teens

“Because it’s been so inconsistent over the last few years, the kids haven’t been able to stabilize,” said Dr. Savarese. “You’re kind of going in and out. We were going into lockdown, and then we weren’t. And some schools were online and some weren’t. Some schools had masks and some schools didn’t. There’s just a lot of inconsistency in the educational system right now because of COVID.”

This widespread confusion has made it difficult for young people (and their families) to adjust to the so-called “new normal.”

Help for Adolescents Impacted by the Pandemic

Dr. Savarese explained that The Forum is designed to meet a strong need in the San Diego community. As the pandemic has worn on, more and more teenagers and pre-teens have needed mental health services. It is her hope that adolescents will find support within this intensive outpatient program.

“We’re focusing on all adolescent mental health issues, and we’re also working with families managing themselves, managing their kids, managing communication, coping strategies and support,” she said.

Almost overnight, education has become an isolating experience. Instead of gathering together and socializing, students must navigate distanced learning. Dr. Savarese believes that this has added to the pressure most adolescents already face – especially because parents now must hold their young learners accountable. This is especially challenging for the parents of children with mood disorders and learning disabilities. It’s more important now than ever before for parents to seek professional intervention.

To read the full piece in The San Diego Union-Tribune, click here.

To learn more about Dr. Savarese, click here.