By Stephanie Stahl

BRYN MAWR, Pa. (CBS) – COVID continues to cause mental health turmoil for a growing number of people. About one-fifth of American teenagers have a diagnosed emotional disorder. New research shows the pandemic has caused that number to jump even higher.

Rates of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed because of the pandemic. Doctors say among those most impacted are children and teenagers.

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Aaliyana Carr is a standout high school student who’s also suffering from pandemic-related mental health issues.

“I just had overall feelings of depression and sometimes even suicidal thoughts,” Carr said.

It’s something many teens are struggling with. A new survey on teen mental health finds 27% have seen a specialist at some point. Nearly 60% of those, within the past year.

“We’re seeing increased visits and we’re seeing increased acuity of those visits where people are having more severe presentations of illness,” Main Line Health Dr. Marc Burock said.

Dr. Marc Burock is the Medical Director of Behavioral Health at Main Line Health.

“I’m gonna call it a chronic stress response to what’s going on in our society,” Dr. Burock said. “When you’re dealing with stress for long periods of time it just burns you out totally.”

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People of all ages struggling with mental health often have trouble finding help, resources are limited.

To help meet the growing demand, for more serious cases, Main Line Health has a newly expanded inpatient psychiatric unit at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

“We really needed those beds now as the pandemic has gone on,” Dr. Burock said. “Our plan is to continue to grow those services to meet the community needs.”

Carr was able to find help.

“I apply the techniques that my therapist gave me, like breathing techniques to calm me down because I often also suffer from anxiety,” Carr said.

Carr is now working to help other teenagers with mental health challenges.

In addition to expanding in-patient services, Main Line Health is also offering broader out-patient services with many programs aimed specifically for women.

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For more information, visit: https://www.mainlinehealth.org/specialties/behavioral-health.

Stephanie Stahl