By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — COVID-19 has taken a toll on all of us but especially on high schoolers. U.S. teens are facing a substantial mental health crisis, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This first-of-its-kind research confirms what many suspected. The mental health of teenagers has really been hurt by the pandemic, causing increased rates of depression and anxiety.

READ MORE: Former Giants CB James Bradberry Agrees To Terms On 1-Year Deal With Philadelphia Eagles

The pandemic upended many lives and it’s been especially challenging for teens. The CDC’s survey of 7,700 teenagers finds widespread emotional stress.

“When you think about teenage years, there’s just so much that’s going on and you’re dealing with lots of emotions and it’s overwhelming. And one of the ways you deal with it is friends, activities, travel even like, and most of those things were taken away during the pandemic,” Dr. George James said.

READ MORE: Pennsylvania US Senate Race Between Republicans Mehmet Oz, Dave McCormick Too Close To Call

According to the CDC report:

  • 44% of high school students feel sad or hopeless
  • more than half were emotionally abused at home by a parent or adult
  • 11% report being physically abused at home
  • more than a quarter of teens reported that a parent or adult in the home lost a job

Experts say school closures played a big role, interrupting important connections for teens.

“Sometimes it’s a teacher, it’s a coach, it’s an administrator that you build a bond with and now becomes like a family member and that person you feel like you can confide in. They can also be the place where we can spot some difficulties,” James said.

MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Acting AG Matthew J. Platkin To Make Law Enforcement Announcement

The CDC report highlights the importance of students feeling connected at school. When they have relationships with teachers and friends, they’re less likely to be depressed.

Stephanie Stahl