COVID-19 & Societal Impacts

Coping with COVID: Mental Health and Young Adults

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USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism Dean Willow Bay is joined by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer and USC Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman for a conversation on how young people use digital devices and media to manage their mental health.

The discussion also covered a groundbreaking new research report on today’s young adults’ mental health during COVID-19. Additional participants included student co-moderators Josie Bullen, Abel Jaquez and Anushka Joshi.

March 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and illness, distance learning and social isolation have turned our lives upside down. Depression rates are up among teens and young adults. How have young people fared after a year of lockdowns, remote schooling and the disruption of social norms? This question and more are answered by the panel.

Who Will Benefit

– Those looking for digital tools to manage their own mental health during the pandemic
– Young adults seeking resources to address the mental and emotional impacts of COVID-19
– Those who want to understand the effectiveness of in-person versus telehealth visits

About Our Featured Faculty

Willow Bay was appointed dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and holder of the Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication in July 2017. A veteran broadcast journalist and a leader in digital communication, Bay was previously the director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism (2014–17). Bay came to USC Annenberg from her post as senior editor and then senior strategic adviser of The Huffington Post, where she managed editorial content and growth initiatives for the pioneering on-line news site. In addition, she was a special correspondent for Bloomberg TV and host of Women to Watch, a primetime program that profiled the next generation of women leaders in various industries.

Her prominent broadcast experience includes reporting and anchoring for ABC News’ Good Morning America/Sunday and serving as a correspondent for Good Morning America and World News Weekend. The first woman to co-anchor CNN’s flagship daily financial news program Moneyline News Hour, Bay also anchored Business Unusual and Pinnacle. At NBC, she co-hosted NBA Inside Stuff, the NBA’s weekly magazine show, and served as a correspondent for the Today Show morning program. Bay is the author of Talking to Your Kids in Tough Times: How to Answer Your Child’s Questions about the World We Live In (Warner Books, 2003). She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA is chief health officer of USC Student Health, overseeing Engemann Student Health Center and Eric Cohen Student Health Center. She also holds academic appointments through Keck School of Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine and is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. Van Orman earned her MMM at Carnegie Mellon University, her MD at Mayo Medical School and her BA at Carleton College. She did a combined residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Chicago Hospital and Clinics. She joined USC in August 2017 after nearly a decade serving as executive director of University Health Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she oversaw all facets of the comprehensive college health program.

Currently, Van Orman provides leadership on campus public health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and oversees comprehensive medical, mental health, prevention and education initiatives that enhance student wellness, increase access to health services and address critical issues impacting our student population. Van Orman is the past president of the American College Health Association (ACHA) and is the 2020 recipient of the ACHA Edward Hitchcock award for Outstanding Contributions in College Health.