Mental Health: Stressful Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress for students and teachers.


Carmen Peterson, Staff Writer

Considering the worldwide pandemic, not to mention schools beginning, it is no surprise that teachers and student’s stress levels are rising rapidly. Without being able to use extracurricular activities as an outlet for their emotions earlier this year, it has become increasingly difficult for students to stay motivated and keep pace with the way things used to be.  

Since March, symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders have become more apparent in young adults in the United States. In addition to this, the Mental Health Hotline saw a 10-15 percent increase in contacts during the month of March. 

What treatment plan is prescribed to patients when therapy sometimes can’t be face to face, doctors and hospitals don’t feel as accessible and medical supplies are running low? 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), when groups of workers were questioned, they reported feeling worse in regards to their mental health, an increase in substance use and admitted to having more suicidal thoughts than the pre-coronavirus months.  

The most common ages to exhibit suicidal tendencies, anxious behaviors, trauma, and stress-related disorders, and substance abuse as a coping mechanism for COVID-19 were individuals 18-24 years old. Furthermore, these behaviors were more commonly observed from males, meaning that self-harm was more prevalent in men, rather than women. The Gender Paradox is a suicidal statistic that states while men die by suicide three times more often than women; nevertheless, women are four times more likely to injure themselves by suicide attempts than men. Going along with the paradox, the reasoning behind that is men use more aggressive suicide attempts than women. This could be a result of men not being able to express their feelings openly. 

Windsor High School guidance counselor Andrea Reed said, “Public health, personal safety and mental health are more important than anything else. Having a good mentality to get through this is crucial.” 

With two young kids, working from home, and helping students graduate on time,  Reed has been very busy; however, she chooses to exercise to help with negative feelings. 

“Exercise has really kept me motivated and helped keep a positive mindset by naturally releasing endorphins,” Reed said.

 Reed also suggests finding a hobby in nature that doesn’t harm anyone, such as fishing or taking a hike. Reed has voiced that being thankful for adequate mental health is often overlooked in hard times, but this pandemic hasn’t been kind to most people and there aren’t any easy decisions to make. While these times have been a learning curve, people can get through them by understanding everyone’s point of view, regardless of personal beliefs. 

Finding a schedule that works for you is a major factor in having a positive mindset. 

“At the beginning of all of this, I was more rigid in my schedule. I tried not to differ from my normal routine like posting assignments and working out. As time went on, I became more relaxed. At last, I think I became lazy,” Spanish teacher Kim Schmidt said. 

Schmidt’s family always had something going on like practices and games. Initially, being stuck at home was a nice break for everyone that was used to running around so often. 

Schmidt said, “We’ve spent more time together and had the chance to enjoy the little things because you do miss important moments when you’re always moving.” 

So, quite possibly, quarantine could’ve been the small break that so many people needed, but then it became too much of a break after a while. 

“I liked to look at the quarantine period as much needed alone time. I had time to focus on myself and my school work at a much deeper level,” sophomore Hannah McNew said. 

Towards the middle of seclusion, loneliness started to set in for Schmidt and made her appreciate the relationships that are strong enough to help her through this. 

When it comes to students’ mental health, sophomore Hannah McNew reported feeling very overworked throughout the duration of her home schedule. Adding in other factors, like schooling from home, taking care of siblings, working a job, etc. really started chipping away at her mental health. 

McNew said, “Some changes I had noticed were being overwhelmed at times. School and other outside activities became a lot with less organization.”