Questions for ‘Being a teen has always been hard; now it’s especially so’  

an upset teen turned away from the viewer sitting on an outdoor staircase

One in three high school students report long periods of sadness or hopelessness. Among girls, half say they feel this way. Such an epidemic of feeling bad affects younger kids, too. But these dark periods won’t last forever. And data now show that getting treatment can ease such rocky periods.

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To accompany ‘Being a teen has always been hard; now it’s especially so  


Before Reading:

  1. Everyone feels sad, down or anxious sometimes. When you feel this way, what are some things you do about it? Do these things tend to help you feel better or not?

During Reading:

  1. How many U.S. high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless for long periods in 2009? How many reported feeling this way in 2019?
  2. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect rates of mental illness and depression? What action did U.S. medical experts take as a result?
  3. What is imposter syndrome? How can it be related to mental health?
  4. What can distinguish short-term feelings of sadness or anxiety from mental illness?
  5. What roles can trusted adults play for teens struggling with mental health?
  6. What do psychiatrists do?
  7. How can kids and teens provide mental-health support for peers?
  8. What does the website Affective Cookies do? Why did Audrey Wang create it?

After Reading:

  1. Based on what you read in the story, if you have a friend who is feeling sad, down or anxious, what are three things you can do to help them?
  2. Read the related story on the roles social media plays in teen mental health. Then, describe two ways that social media use can have negative effects on how teens feel and two ways it can help teens find support. Finally, list at least three activities or practices you can use to improve your own mental health. (If you need ideas, read about how to create a “mental-health menu.”)