From the Covid-19 pandemic to the racial justice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd to larger concerns about climate change, 2020 was a stressful year that tested most people’s mental health – and American teens were no exception. To learn more about the state of their mental health, we looked at data from Multicultural Majority: The Time Is Now, a study fielded by the Hispanic Marketing Council in January 2020 and sponsored by ViacomCBS, and Beyond 2020, a ViacomCBS study fielded in the summer of 2020.

Here’s what we learned:

Mental health and racism were American teens’ top-of-mind issues before the pandemic. Mental health was the most pressing issue among white and Hispanic teens, according to the Hispanic Marketing Council. Black teens’ top issues were racism and police brutality, and racism was #2 among Hispanic teens.

Stress was pervasive among American teens at the height of the pandemic. In the summer of 2020, about half of teens in the US reported high stress levels (a 7 or above on a scale of 1 to 10), according to ViacomCBS’s Beyond 2020 study. Non-Hispanic white teens were most likely to be stressed, at 54%, followed by Hispanic teens (51%), then Black and Asian-American teens, both at 47%.

American teens believe the events of 2020 affected their educational and career advancement. According to Beyond 2020, more than half of teens felt that the events of 2020 impacted their education – highest among Asian-American teens (61%), followed by white (55%), Black (54%), and Hispanic teens (50%). White teens were most likely to feel that the calamitous events of last year affected their work prospects, at 48%. About 35% of other teens believed their careers would be impacted.

2020 took a toll on American teens’ mental health, and they expect the effects to linger. White teens were most likely to feel the events of 2020 directly impacted their mental health (62%), followed by about half of Asian-American, Hispanic, and Black teens. A third of Black teens and about 4 in 10 white, Hispanic, and Asian-American teens believed these effects would last for a year or more.