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Presentation: 5:12

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic brought a combination of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty across the globe. This phenomenon led to many short term and long term psychological health implications for adolescents. The developmental features of adolescents, age of onset of these socio-emotional disorders, conducting school online, increased time spent indoors, and being physically separated from peers put the adolescents at an increased risk. This period also saw an increased unexpected increase in social isolation that led to interference in daily routines.

Aims: Through this narrative review, I aimed to assess the mental health outcomes for adolescents with a focus on impacts of social distancing during the pandemic. I intended to help inform policies around social distancing and provide insights on how to mitigate observed mental health outcomes through this study. I also wanted to emphasize the importance of counseling and peer-support to help adolescents navigate sudden disruptions in their lives.

Methods: A second researcher and I utilized PubMed as our first resource and used the following search terms to come up with ten articles on the topic: “adolescents”, “social distancing”, “mental health”, and “COVID-19”. We removed four of the ten articles based of our study interest and population. We did a second PubMed search and finalized ten articles that catered to our topic of interest. I thematically organized the articles and put up major findings under sub-sections.

Results: I analyzed the ten studies and came up with common themes amongst them that included depression, anxiety, psychological disturbances due to factors like isolation, social inequalities, emotional reactions, and positive domains during the pandemic. I also analyzed social distancing and motivation behind social distancing.

Discussion and Conclusion: Social support from schools, families, healthcare providers, and the government is essential during the pandemic. When provided with the help they need, adolescents and their families can better face the pandemic’s immediate and potentially harmful mental health implications.