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Survey: Teens Worried About COVID-19, Climate Change

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A diverse group of teenagers sit together and read.

California teenagers are seeking out more help from friends, parents, and teachers to cope with their situation, according to a survey released todayby Blue Shield of California.

Between July and August, Blue Shield of California surveyed 500 California students aged 13 to 18 about their mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results showed the negative toll on mental health from several overlapping concerns from the past year. Those concerns included the pandemic, racial injustice, and climate change.

Nearly 80 percent of the students surveyed said they were nervous about getting good grades. That was followed closely by fears over catching COVID-19 at school and elsewhere, which was listed by 70 percent of those surveyed. Climate change was mentioned by more than half of teenagers, who said they are nervous about wildfires and droughts in California.

There was some good news from the survey results. Before the reopening of the state in June, half of teenagers said they were in fair or poor mental health. Forty-two percent say that's true of their mental health today.

According to results, every ethnic group surveyed reported having poorer mental health during the pandemic than prior to it, as well as having slightly better mental health after reopening.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.