Mental Health and Coping During a Pandemic

Ms. Atkins is one of the counselors at CCHS,. She helps students cope with mental health on a daily basis. September 15, 2020. Cedar Creek High School

The number of mental health issues have increased dramatically since the pandemic started. It’s been almost half a year since Covid-19 impacted our communities. During that time, instead of going to school, staff and students utilized technology to continue educational expectations. For some, the lack of physical interaction with family and friends caused a strain on their mental health. Mental health statistics regarding people dealing with depression and anxiety have increased. According to KFF,  (weekly average for May: 34.5%; weekly average for June: 36.5%; weekly average for July: 40.1%) (Figure 1). In comparison, from January to June 2019, more than one in ten (11%) adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.

Although majority of CCHS students and staff worked in the comfort of their own homes, they were isolated in the same place, with nowhere to go. Many businesses were closed and the only things open were grocery stores. A CCHS senior, Dominic Mojica, had a hard time adjusting to his new routine during COVID. I think it’s a difficult time because no one’s really experienced this in their lifetime. They don’t know how to cope with everything so it just kind of throws everything off for everyone in their life and stuff.” Dominic said. 

Many students have struggled to complete their Google Classroom assignments because they are not used to online learning. Working from home made it strenuous to create a studious mindset because there are a number of distractions. Staff had difficulty keeping up with their jobs, 

Scheduling classes was very difficult for the CCHS counseling staff. It was challenging for them to help answer students’ and parents’ questions and concerns. Students and staff have become stressed overtime due to this.

The most common increase in mental health issues are anxiety and depression.

Depression and anxiety have taken over most teens and adults lives. Adults were more affected than teens because many lost their jobs. The economy was in a downfall, with no way to provide money for their business, some stores went bankrupt and disappeared. Others struggled to keep up with their bills. 

A handful of communities have used technology that is accessible to them for their entertainment: Phones, computers, and tablets have increased screen time by 33% in the first week of quarantine, according to the Washington Post. Now is the moment for individuals to recenter themselves and focus on their mental health. There are various activities that help a person destress. A CCHS Counselor, Lori Atkins, occupied herself outside.  “I did a lot of stuff in my yard. I kind of did different things just for me to go outside… But for everybody, it’s different. Sometimes people listen to music, artists they like to draw, everybody has what helps calm them down. And it’s just a matter of finding those things.” -Ms. Lori Atkins said.

Others have taken the time to create a closer relationship with a family member, getting to know them even better than before Covid-19 occurred. A teacher of CCHS, Ms. Fishback had fun spending time with her daughter. “Trying to hang out with my kids. So I mean, just sitting down and y’know, going through a coloring book with my daughter because she loves to color and there’s no way to color with a six year old and be upset.” Ms. Fishback said.

 Mrs. Julia Fishback is the anatomy teacher here at CCHS. September 19, 2020 Cedar Creek High School

It may have been boring and stressful for most, being stuck in a single room for weeks on end, but that shouldn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. This is probably a good time for students to explore themselves and find out who they really are. 

Mental health statistics have shown that with the Covid-19 Pandemic going on, mental health problems have increased and have continued increasing as time goes on. It must have been stressful for most wondering when it is going to end or if it ever will but everyone is in this together. The best thing to do is to never stress out.

Next time you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or stressed with the pandemic, take a breather. There is no harm in taking a break or asking for help.

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