According to the latest school health survey conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Finland, anxiety levels among teenagers have risen in

the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. This finding comes as a surprise, as there was an initial expectation that anxiety levels would decrease as the pandemic situation improved.

The survey, which included participants from the eighth and ninth grades, revealed a higher proportion of young people reporting moderate to severe anxiety compared to the previous survey conducted in 2021 when schools and hobbies were still under Covid-19 restrictions. More than 20 percent of the surveyed students expressed anxiety, with girls being more likely to report anxiety than boys. Approximately one in three girls reported feeling anxious, while the number for boys stood at one in ten.

Olli Kiviruusu, the research boss at THL, expressed surprise at the results, stating, "We expected that anxiety would have reduced, because it has been some time since Covid." Terhi Aalto-Setälä, the Chief Physician at THL, pointed out that the concerns of adults regarding security and the economy often impact young people as well, which may contribute to increased anxiety levels.

The survey also revealed an increase in the number of children experiencing bullying at least once a week. Approximately 8.6 percent of boys and 7.5 percent of girls reported being bullied regularly.

The 2023 school health survey collected responses from around 91,000 students in the eighth and ninth grades. These findings highlight the concerning impact of the pandemic on teenagers' well-being, indicating a need for increased support and interventions to address the rising levels of anxiety and bullying among this age group. Photo by Simo Räsänen, Wikimedia commons.