Mental health concerns amid coronavirus pandemic

A+woman+is+wearing+a+mask+to+protect+herself+from+the+virus%2C+but+appears+to+be+alone+and+surrounded+by+the+dark.+Numerous+medical+agencies+stress+the+importance+of+monitoring+mental+health%2C+especially+during+tough+times+like+these.+

A woman is wearing a mask to protect herself from the virus, but appears to be alone and surrounded by the dark. Numerous medical agencies stress the importance of monitoring mental health, especially during tough times like these.

Juliet Barone, COVID-19 Editor

When the year first kicked off, many people were convinced that this was the year. This was the year where everything would be right and better than the last. However, once March came along, that idea of 2020 being “the one” was thrown out the window. 

The coronavirus took everybody by surprise. Soon enough the numbers began rising, as did the risk of contracting the virus in nearly every state. Schools had to resort to online learning for the last of the year, and now, as the new school year starts, we begin in a similar environment: students stuck inside and glued to their computers all day.

Surely, this lengthy period of having to social distance and stay quarantined has had an impact on the mental health of students, right? 

Jocelyn Reavis, senior, admits to having such struggles during these times. 

“Quarantine definitely had an impact on my mental health negatively,” she said. “I feel like my mental health just took a big plummet downhill.”

Many of them agree that a big part of this was due to not being able to see friends and loved ones as often. Joey Khar, a former senior at MCHS, said that not seeing his friends has impacted his mental health.

“Not being able to see my friends for months on end and not really doing anything else besides working definitely had a negative impact on my mental health,” he said.

A lot of animals are socially dependent creatures, and humans are no exception.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that “the neuroscience of human behavior” is often forgotten about despite “the importance of social interactions for mental health.” 

One big effect that this quarantine can have is an increase in loneliness. Feeling lonely can definitely have a negative impact on our mental health, and according to the American Psychological Association. It can be linked to harmful health consequences. These include “depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function, and impaired immunity.” 

It is important that people do things that will help keep them motivated and happy as much as possible, especially right now. 

“Try learning something new everyday, even if it’s a small thing,” Kirstin Hobbs, senior, recommends. “Video games can help because a lot of [them] have puzzles you can solve.”

Khar also recommends exercising and going on walks. These can help with boosting your mood, provided that you wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

“Keeping in touch with those who you can’t see in quarantine all definitely help, at least in my experience,” Khar said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking care of other people — like you’re family and friends — could be a way to relieve stress, but “it should be balanced with care for yourself.” 

“If you’re having a hard time with these things, talk it out with someone,” Hobbs said. “There’s definitely other people in the same boat as you are, so you aren’t alone.”

If any students have concerns about mental health, members of Student Services at MCHS are there to help.