Parents Can Help Utah Teens Stressed During COVID-19

Feb 19, 2021, 6:40 PM | Updated: 8:00 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – For many students, school can be a refuge, a place of fun and learning but the pandemic has changed that. All week, NBC has focused coverage on Kids Under Pressure and how COVID-19 has impacted them.

KSL-TV reached out to Utah students and found they are stressed out, but parents can help.

At Granger High School in West Valley City, a heart mural on the window was made of hundreds of sticky-note messages like, “Moving forward, bring joy,” and “You got this.”

Words are not just talk there, but a lifeline.

“We’re the largest high school and we’re the most diverse high school,” said principal David Dunn.

Encouragement is important for students like Arleth Antonio, a senior who is on the wrestling team at Granger.

“It’s been a bumpy road for me,” Antonio said.

She said she’s been wrestling with very real problems, like mental health.

Granger High student Arleth Antonio is stressed with mental wellness and family finances during the pandemic. (KSL TV)

“I was really depressed for some time,” she said.

She was also worried about finances.

“We haven’t been financially well. My mom and my dad had to sit back for a while, because, unfortunately, they had COVID,” Antonio said.

Dunn surveyed his students, finding in addition to being overwhelmed, they feel unmotivated or alone, and distracted by texting and Facebook during online learning.

“They feel overwhelmed,” he said. “Maybe we’re giving them too much. Maybe we’re expecting too much of them, just by giving them more and more assignments. That wasn’t the answer.”

Dunn created a task force to find ways to encourage students, like home visits to seniors. His efforts bridged the gap for 12th-graders, like Vivian Chau, who works up to 30 hours a week, along with hybrid AP classes, and college prep.

“Honestly, it sucks,” she said. “You’re not sure of anything. You don’t know if campuses are going to be open, stuff like that – and you know, you don’t know if you want to pay full tuition to just do class online.”

“These kids are growing up very fast,” said school counselor Brandy Oliver.

Along with academics, Oliver recommended parents ask about mental and physical health.

“Say, ‘How’s school going?’ Or, ‘Do you miss your friends? How can we make it so that you feel connected?’” she said.

Survey results showed students felt a weekly check-in would help.

“We need to have open, gentle conversations, conversations, whereas parents, we’re willing to ask, but I think, more importantly, we’re willing to listen,” said Dunn.

If they shut down, circle back later, experts recommended. Focus on strengthening your relationship, and keeping communication open.

“Why not as a parent say, ‘How are you? How are you handling these things?’”  Oliver said.

With baby steps, over time, it can get better.

Antonio saw the light in the form college scholarship offers.

“I got one from Nebraska, and I just barely got one from Dixie (State),” she said.

She said she is looking forward to a time when life isn’t so challenging.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Kids Under Pressure

Sunset Elementary became one of the first schools to add a Wellness Center last year. Since then, b...
Deanie Wimmer, KSL TV

Utah Schools Using Innovative Approach To Improve Student Mental Health

A room inside Washington School District schools is showing success in cutting down on classroom disruptions.
3 years ago
A group of students pose in their small group at Herriman High School’s “Be The Change” event...
Aley Davis, KSL TV

‘Let’s Save These Lives’: Reflecting On Change One Year After Herriman Suicide Crisis

This time last year, the Herriman community was in crisis. They sought answers after losing their eighth teenager to suicide in one year. The community knew they needed a long term solution.
3 years ago
Regina Tippets, LCMHC, clinical director at RCT counseling, offers video counseling for teens. She ...
Heather Simonsen, KSL TV

Some Utah Therapists Are Using Video Chat, Email and Text To Help Teens

More teens and adolescents are suffering from depression and anxiety than ever before. Finding a therapist and getting an appointment right away is extremely difficult. Some therapists in Utah are turning to technology to help teens.
3 years ago
Shara Park, KSL TV

Kids Under Pressure: The Stress-Alleviating Power of a Parent’s Hug

It was last year this busy mom of four boys learned about the 8 second hug... 8 times a day. 
3 years ago
Dr. Matt Swenson talks with KSL TV's Dan Spindle...
Dan Spindle, KSL TV

Child Psychiatrist Shares The Best Ways For Parents To Get Their Kids To Open Up

Utah children and teens are grappling with intense circumstances surrounding depression, anxiety and even suicide. A Utah psychiatrist hopes to gives adults the tools they need to help.
3 years ago
Nathan Cowsert (center)...
Keira Farrimond, KSL TV

Kids Under Pressure: Parents Share Insights After Team Loses Two Teens to Suicide

They knew the warning signs. They talked to their sons. Read their texts and monitored social media. Still, two Utah families say they never saw suicide coming.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Parents Can Help Utah Teens Stressed During COVID-19