Research Paper: How Has The Pandemic Affected Student Mental Health?

Emma-Leigh Barfield

Professor Weaver

ENGL 1102

27 April 2021

 

School has always been a challenge whether it is taking a difficult class or learning how to time manage; however, no student is ever prepared to change everything they have ever known about school. When students entered the 2020 school year, the difficulties ahead would change the way they attend school for a while. With this, students began struggling with their mental health while trying to adapt to this different school environment. 

No student or professor expected to live and go to school during a global pandemic. No one was prepared for the way classes would be shifted to online or taking extreme social distancing measures. Many elements were taken into account that affected the mental health of many college students and professors during the pandemic, such as relocation, social distancing, financial issues, personal health, family matters, struggles with online school, the list continues. In a study by the Journal of Psychiatric Research about college students’ mental health, the many factors, especially with relocation, caused students to suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Conrad, Rachel C). With approximately 26 million U.S. college students that faced a change with school during the pandemic, the numbers of mental health struggles skyrocketed. Many college students did not have ways to cope with these struggles and with the transition at their colleges, those students struggled to find help. By not being able to find help, students faced life struggles while also having to live with the stress of the new era of school. According to a study by Erick Baloran, 48.3% of students constantly stress about their classes during lockdown while 62.64% worry about food or their financial status. (Baloran, Erick T). With this information, we can see that some college students did not only struggle with just challenges at school but also life outside of school. Relocations put some college students in financial struggles. With the overwhelming elements that have affected students’ mindsets during the pandemic, the only way we can all get through it is together.

Every student faced some sort of change during the pandemic. Some may have even felt alone like no one understood them; however, this pandemic taught many people that this is not the time to ignore one another, but to help one another, socially distanced. An article by Nina L. Komar and Suniya S. Luther states “Moving forward, it will be more important than ever for all schools to remain highly vigilant about their school community’s mental health and to keep a pulse on the well-being of children as well as adults.” (Komar, Nina L) Schools and communities need to come together and focus on the mental health of students and faculty during this time. Many schools have taken these opportunities that would help improve the mental health of students, such as mental health days or turning school weeks into four days instead of five to let students catch up on work. Komar and Luther also discuss how we need to alter schools and communities by keeping constant communication, prioritizing mental health, giving frequent feedback, and moving forward (Komar, Nina L). Some students, however, might not be in the presence of a community that can do this. There are some things that struggling students can do to ease their mental health. 

With some students not having the support or resources for their mental health, they are left feeling stranded and alone. Some of these students do not know where to start. In the article “The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students” stressed out students can take these measures to improve their mental health. First, students need to Embrace Your Vulnerability starting with “be okay with not being okay. You may be facing challenges with your mental health. And that’s okay” (“The Ultimate Guide”). The first step to change is to identify what the problem is and how you need to improve that part of your life. The article then moves on to the second step, adding Self-Dialogue in Your Day-to-Day Life. By changing the way we think and tricking our minds into loving the feeling of change, students can improve their mental health difficulties by telling themselves they need this change to grow. The third step, Cover The Basics, is suggesting to students that their well-being is the most important in their life and to take time for yourself so anything thrown at you can be tackled easily. The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students states “A healthy diet, 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and at least 30 min of moving your body each day will keep your body more prepared to handle whatever comes your way” (“The Ultimate Guide”). Moving on to step four, Reach Out To Your Support Group, whether it is a close friend or an actual support group, the article suggests engaging with these people that want to help you because they might need your help as well. Lastly, Guided Journaling can help improve mindsets and mental health problems. I think guided journaling is very beneficial. Everyone’s minds are constantly filled with the many things we remember throughout the day and sometimes it can become a bit too much. Taking this time to relax and write down the problems or situations in your head so you can see them. I always thought of it as I can not see what it is in my head so when I write it down, I can see it and know how to feel about it. This article, The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students, gives a great five-step guide on little things students and even faculty can do to build up their mental health.

Many factors were put into the stress on student’s mental health during the pandemic. If we start prioritizing mental health in schools and communities, we can come together in a time of need and help those who need it. Students can even follow some steps to add to their daily routines to improve their mental health for the future. No one planned on student mental health struggles being at a peak while going through a pandemic, but the only way we will get through it is together, socially distanced, of course.

 

Works Cited

 

Baloran, Erick T. “Knowledge, Attitudes, Anxiety, and Coping Strategies of Students during COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Loss & Trauma, vol. 25, no. 8, Dec. 2020, pp. 635–642. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15325024.2020.1769300. Accessed 19 April 2021.

 

Conrad, Rachel C., et al. “College Student Mental Health Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications of Campus Relocation.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 136, Apr. 2021, pp. 117–126. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.01.054. Accessed 19 April 2021.

 

  “The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students.” DiveThru, 29 Mar. 2021, divethru.com/the-ultimate-mental-health-guide-for-college-students/. Accessed 24 April 2021.

KOMAR, NINA L., and SUNIYA S. LUTHAR. “SEEDS OF RESILIENCE: Insights from School Surveys on Student and Faculty Mental Health during the Pandemic.” Independent School, vol. 80, no. 1, Fall 2020, pp. 62–67. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=a9h&AN=146355236&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Accessed 19 April 2021.

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