UArizona Public Health Video Offers Tips for Teens Coping with Social Isolation

May 13, 2020


Being a teenager can be hard, but teens today also are having to navigate a world in crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. To help ease the mental health burden on teens, University of Arizona public health experts have created a video and list of resources to help teens through this unprecedented time.

Social isolation in the wake of COVID-19 can be especially difficult for teens, missing out on sports, clubs, friends and rites of passage such as proms and graduation ceremonies.Stay-at-home orders have kept teens out of school and away from sports, clubs and friends. Physical distancing can be hard to cope with for everyone, but supportive resources curated for teens are scarce, said Cody Welty, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences in the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Welty worked with his mentor, public health associate professor Patricia Haynes, PhD, to create the video and resource list for teens. The two of them also were part of the team that created a toolkit for parents and teachers of school-age kids.

“Parents were saying that they don’t really know what to do right now,” Welty said. “Everything is totally different, and we’re all out of our routines. It’s is a challenge for everyone, but in particular teens, who are social and need routine and structure to help them be happy and healthy.”

Cody Welty

The advice Welty shares in the video, “How Do I Get Through This? A Teen Guide to Surviving COVID-19 at Home,” is based on scientific research on public health and how to change personal behavior. He reminds teens that mental health is just as important as physical health and recommends setting an alarm to manage sleep, scheduling time with friends virtually to maintain connection, picking up a new hobby, putting on normal clothes and reaching out for help if you need it.

“Many teens have lost out on important activities in their lives. I like how Cody’s video acknowledges their disappointment and also encourages teens to focus on what’s in their control,” Dr. Haynes said.

The video is being shared on social media, and some teachers are sharing it with their students. Welty and Haynes hope the video format is familiar to teens who are also on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.

“We wanted to create an approachable video that speaks directly to teens,” Dr. Haynes said.

Next, Dr. Haynes’ UArizona Stress and Sleep Research group is working on a video guide for parents of teens. Until then, a list of tips for parents of teens can be found on the College of Public Health website.

More information on the college’s activities regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is at this link.

The UArizona Health Sciences COVID-19 Resources webpage can be found here.

For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university’s COVID-19 webpage.

Other versions of this story appear on the UANews and College of Public Health websites.

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NOTE: Photos available upon request.

About the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
Established in 2000, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences is the first nationally accredited college of public health in the Southwest. Today the college remains the only accredited college of public health in the state of Arizona, with campuses in Tucson and Phoenix. The college enrolls more than 1,100 students per year across degree programs at the bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctoral levels. Through research, education and community engagement, the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health continues to find solutions to public health problems in Arizona, the Southwest and globally. For more information: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter).

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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