Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Pandemic

Taking+Care+of+Your+Mental+Health+During+the+Pandemic

Lucy Dixon, Staff Writer

The pandemic has impacted millions of students’ mental health this year.

The stress of school combined with isolation can be a recipe for depression and anxiety. Students have to keep up with school work and deal with problems like job losses/economic problems, deaths of relatives, and sickness, all while being isolated from friends. Also, for virtual students, tensions at home can magnify when family members are confined together.

An American Civil Liberties Union survey about student’s mental stability shows that before the pandemic, “65% of students gave themselves a 7 or higher. After the pandemic, that percentage had dropped to less than 40%. Worse, the number of students who rated their mental health a 3 or lower more than tripled after the pandemic began, from 7.2% to 23.”

As for mental health emergencies nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that since March, mental health-related ER visits nationwide have risen 31% for people 12-17.

School pressure has always been one of the most common causes of mental health issues for students. Students can have the same stressors, but each is affected differently.

In an anonymous survey, the views of six students reflect these differences. Each student was asked to rate their mental health on a scale of 1-10 last year, a few months ago, and now. The answers varied drastically.

Some students have better mental health now, some have worse. Some have struggled with anxiety and depression while some feel less anxious and depressed. Each student had a completely different experience with mental health.

One student has struggled with poor mental health and anxiety during the pandemic.

“Connecting and keeping in touch has been more difficult, and you can’t really read people’s emotions. I like to use body language and that’s not really an option with a mask. It’s just more stressful to interact with people now,” she said.

A second student who has also experienced anxiety said, “The virtual experience was awful for me and my friendships and grades were not doing well. Ever since I’ve gotten back to school my anxiety has gotten better. Interacting with people more has helped me a lot. My grades are up and I am really happy that I get to see my friends more often.”

JICHS has been taking measures to help students. Posters were put up around the school with the number for a crisis text line.

After asking the six students whether they would use the text line in a crisis, two said yes, two said no, and two said that they weren’t sure.

Though the sample was small, some responses were interesting. The two students who said that they would use the text line rated their mental health the highest while the two who rated their mental health the lowest said they wouldn’t use the text line. This goes to show that students who have experienced mental health issues are less likely to seek help.

The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone in different ways, and this is clearly true at JICHS.

If you need help, contact the Mobile Crisis Number: 843-414-2350 or the 1-800-273-TALK suicide prevention line. Or, if you’d prefer, text HOME to 741741 for the crisis help line.

If you need to talk to someone in person, email one of our school psychologists to schedule an appointment: Erin Osborne @[email protected] or Jessica Bates @[email protected]