Mental health to remain key focus as Covid-19 pandemic continues

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Lily Lectka, Staff Writer

October 10 was World Mental Health Day, a day to spread awareness and advocacy against social stigmas. There is no doubt that this year has been hard for everyone, especially students.

 In early March, students all over the country were switched to online learning with little warning, in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Not knowing when things would change, it took a toll on their mental health. Because mental health is just as important as one’s physical health, it can change the quality of life when it isn’t talked about or taken care of properly.

“I feel like there wasn’t much anyone could do to prepare for the mental health effects that came with quarantine,” junior Gabby Condo said. “The pandemic is something today’s citizens have never experienced before. We had no idea how to prepare for it.” 

Many people found it hard to admit the fact that this was the new “norm.” The pandemic was sudden, and people lost motivation to do things that before the pandemic were just part of everyday life.

 “Having this quarantine made my depression worse because I wasn’t seeing any of my friends or having a normal schedule,” junio Megan Smart said. “So I just felt lost for a long time.” 

Going from seeing friends and teachers 5 days a week to only getting online assignments made it harder for many students to get work done. The motivation was lost and it was harder to communicate without face to face contact. 

“It was hard to have motivation because if I didn’t see my teacher face to face, there wasn’t anyone I was disappointing with bad grades, and I couldn’t get help,” senior Emma Hannahs said. “Teachers were as unprepared as us to go fully online; either all the online was boring or it was hard to ask questions.” 

People had a lot of free time on their hands. Staying home led to a lot of different activities to improve mental health like cleaning, working out, writing, or reading. Activities that people didn’t necessarily have time to do before Covid-19.

 “I started to work out every day to relieve stress and just stay active and I want to continue doing that because it made me feel healthy and fit,” Condo said. 

Getting the right help for mental illness can be hard and it can be confusing to understand why people might feel the way they do. It’s hard to come out and state the problem when no one knows who or what to ask. They might feel as if their problems don’t matter. 

 “I think that the mental health resources at Hayes are good but no students feel like they can reach out. I don’t think that’s the school’s fault. I think it’s more teens being uncomfortable,” Hannahs said. 

As the new school year began this fall, many schools continued with all online classes while some developed a hybrid plan. Hybrid plans require students to only go in person a couple days a week on opposite days, making the number of students in a classroom go down and hopefully decreasing the spread.

“I hope that next year school will be able to go somewhat back to normal, especially since it would be my senior year,” Condo said. “Realistically, this probably won’t happen, we probably will still have restrictions going into next year, but hopefully, they will not be as strict as this year.” 

As 2020 is coming to an end and Covid is still creating issues around the country, students are normalizing masks and online learning. But mental health will continue to be an important key to getting through the rest of the school year.