The year 2020 was supposed to be a new beginning for the new decade. New resolutions and promises were made but no one would’ve ever thought the world would be entering a global pandemic. A deadly virus, known as the COVID-19 virus, was and still is spreading throughout the globe. This led to lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing which separated a lot of people from their friends and family. Many people became unemployed and students had to leave campus and continue their education at home, away from the school resources and amenities. Students have endured one of the most dramatic life changes during the Pandemic. They were stripped away from having a real, normal college experience. Unfortunately, many students have experienced mental health issues throughout the past year. Active Minds is an organizational movement that promotes mental health in young adults. They surveyed about two thousand college students and 80% reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.
What is Mental Health and Why is it so Important for College Students?
Taking care of mental health is incredibly important for students. Mental Health is defined by our psychological well-being. It also consists of our emotional and social well-being (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). All of these can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts, and it can also help how we may be able to handle life’s problems. Realistically, mental health affects everything, which is why it’s so important for students to improve and maintain it. Students have a lot of responsibilities which tends to cause stress and anxiety that can impact our physical health (Browne). Sarah Browne, the writer of 3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important, informs her audience of what can occur if we lack the necessary treatment. It “leads to hopelessness and sadness, worthlessness, feeling guilty, anxiety and worry, fear, and loss of control.” For students, this can lead to a decline in their performance in school and work.
How Did COVID-19 Affect College Students?
Evan Thompson revealed that the switch from face-to-face learning to remote learning is one of the “biggest triggers” for anxiety and depression. The mandated social distancing helped decrease the spread of the CoronaVirus but the lack of social interaction makes students feel excluded and disconnected (Thompson). Social interaction is important for many college students and it’s one of the main things they look forward to. Many students were kicked out of their campus living and were forced to move back home. Unfortunately, some of them were in toxic, abusive environments which emotionally and mentally drains the students. Other students found difficulty with staying consistent with a schedule and looking out for themselves.
What Are Some Ways College Students Can Improve and Maintain Their Mental Health?
The mind and body are connected, therefore the best way to start improving your mental health is by taking care of your body. Alicia Betz, writer of “How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College,” says eating well and exercising can affect your depression, anxiety, and addiction (Betz). Betz includes a lot of helpful ways to help your mental health. Students must allow themselves to accept the reality of the pandemic and putting things in perspective can help you realize that it’s all a part of life. The biggest step a student can do is open up about their issues and get the help they need before it gets worse. It’s crucial for students to take healthy breaks from time to time. Many college students tend to overwork themselves which drains them of their energy. It’s important to exercise in any stress-relieving activities to help prevent worsening any mental illness symptoms.
The pandemic has caused a lot of unpredictable events. Many people have lost loved ones and others are struggling with financial issues. Everyone is going through their own personal battle at this time and it’s important to have patience with yourself and others. Mental Health affects everything and having patience while improving and maintaining the mind can help students accomplish their goals for school while also feeling happy with themselves.
Betz, Alicia. How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College, Education Corder, www.educationcorner.com/mental-health-college.html.
Browne, Sarah. “3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important.” Lifehack, Lifehack, 12 Jan. 2021, www.lifehack.org/874881/why-is-mental-health-important.
“Learn About Mental Health – Mental Health – CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Jan. 2018, www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm.
“Statistics.” Active Minds, 2 Mar. 2021, www.activeminds.org/about-mental-health/statistics/.
Thompson, Evan. “How COVID-19 Has Impacted Student Mental Health.” TheBestSchools.org, 19 Mar. 2021, thebestschools.org/magazine/covid-19-impact-student-mental-health/.