Teens struggling as they face COVID-19 isolation
Youths feeling 'trapped' as the pandemic cuts off access to friends and favorite activities
November 16, 2020
Before the pandemic, Aya Raji's days were jam-packed. She woke up at 6:30 a.m. and hurried off to school. After classes, she practiced kick-flips with her skateboarding club and hosted "Twilight" movie nights for friends.
Once her school turned to remote learning, starting last spring and continuing this fall, the days grew long and lonely. Nothing could distract her from the bleak news as she stared at her laptop for hours during virtual class. She couldn't sleep, up until 4 a.m., her mind racing with anxiety.
"I felt like I was trapped in my own little house, and everyone was far away," the 14-year-old New Yorker, said. "When you're with friends, you're completely distracted, and you don't think about the bad stuff going on. During the beginning of quarantine, I was so alone. All the sad things I used to brush off, I realized I couldn't brush them off anymore."