COMMENTARY/Pandemic impacts mental health
By: LANIECE RICHARDSON
Mar 29, 2022
Lindsey Balbierz for NPR
COVID-19 has made college life different. Students are unable to regularly have events on campus and socialize with their peers as they usually would. We have had to adjust to the new norms of wearing masks, social distancing, and receiving vaccinations in order to remain on campus.
Students are required to alternate between being on Zoom and going to class in person and some students are still doing virtual learning. The mental health of students was overall negatively affected by COVID-19 during the school semester. Knowing this, we can consider an expansion in counseling and mental health services for college students as a solution.
Adjusting to most things being online for school, students became stressed and depressed, slacking with their own well-being. Along with that, many students were beginning to experience anxiety symptoms from the quarantine. Being alone frequently made people more anxious. Many people experienced financial difficulties causing their anxiety to increase.
The mental health challenges that students have experienced during the pandemic can have long-term consequences on their health and education. Due to COVID, students’ anxiety and stress levels have contributed to a rise in substance abuse and disordered eating, as well as there being more deaths from suicide than COVID-19. Mental health hotlines were increased.
Taking school online has caused isolation from people, and going back to in-person schooling and interacting with classmates and teachers cause anxiety.
Investing into our mental health could be the first step to addressing these challenges. Along with in-person mental health and counseling services, Claflin offers a free virtual app- based resource that provides counseling therapy. This is effective because students can express their feelings and emotions about the difficulties they are experiencing as students.
Having an outlet to vent to is a method of stress relief. Students can form a group to talk about our issues and together come up with different ways that will help lessen our stress and anxiety levels. Reaching out to Claflin’s Counseling Center will be the first step to improve our mental health. To get in contact with the Office of Counseling, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org , or give them a call at 803-535-5285. There is guaranteed confidentiality and privacy in ALL services in the Counseling Center.
Laniece Richardson is Claflin freshman psychology major from Miami, Florida.