Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Can We Cope?

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many truths about our society. It is no secret that since the outbreak, the collective mental health has taken a toll. In light of recent events, mental health is not at the forefront of our priorities; however, just like taking physical precautions, preserving mental health is important. 

In a time where people may feel like they are perpetually fighting a losing battle, mental health is becoming one of the many casualties. From the perspective of a student, it’s not possible to match individual problems to that of an entire society in which so many are suffering. Even then, mental health is not a trivial problem; it will have a lasting effect on our lives. 

By now, the initial relief over the lessened school workload has greatly diminished. On the whole, students are feeling overwhelmed by a situation out of their control and now more than ever need in-person support. Quarantining in the same environment with the same people with no fixed schedule is isolating. It leaves us itching to go see our friends again and commiserate over the amount of work we had to do. The good old days. It leaves us wishing for normalcy not just for ourselves but for the sake of the world on the whole. It’s a tough pill to swallow; the implications of the pandemic will echo for decades to come. There is no going back.

Mental health needs have drastically risen ranging from the need for human contact to severe anxiety. We can’t help but worry for those we love, and that’s the way it should be. Then how can we help ourselves too? There was already a mental health crisis before the pandemic. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California conducted a survey. The number of students who reported a 3 or lower has tripled since the pandemic. It takes courage to ask for help. School counselors are doing a wonderful job to help us, but for some, it’s still not enough. 

Our futures are hanging in the balance. It’s hard to see something we’ve all worked so hard for, be in this much jeopardy. Students can’t see the big picture anymore. For the majority, college was the next step. No one foresaw a global recession. All the work and effort was an investment into our future, but now it’s threatened by an unparalleled adversary. It’s sad. The standardized tests were looming overhead just a few months ago, and since then, so much has changed. It feels like the phrase ‘unprecedented circumstances’ is thrown around in every news feed, and the words ‘new normal’ have taken over our lives. 

So how can we make the best out of a bad situation? How can we cope? The WHO and CDC have guidelines detailing how to cope with these uncertain times. For some, the discipline of daily life kept them productive. For others, the conversation and company kept them from ever feeling alone. Coping is different for everyone, but taking the time to improve mental health will have a lasting impact in the future. 

Link – survey

Sanjna Rajagopalan
staff writer

Graphic: Yeajin Lee

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