Mental Health during the Pandemic

Aya Long, Reporter

So we’re all cooped up at home-or at least we should be-but what does this mean for mental health? According to the CDC, this abnormal time in our lives can lead to change in sleeping and eating patterns, worsening of chronic and mental health conditions, increased substance use, and, not surprisingly, fear and worry for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones. 

These things are completely normal to be experiencing currently, and if you aren’t experiencing them, that’s okay too. Everyone responds to stressors differently. Individuals with preexisting mental health conditions and challenges may be affected differently during quarantining months. Hailey Robinson (‘23) says, “Quarantine has decreased the progress I made in my mental health by taking me away from my main support systems.” She, as well as many others, were making significant progress in mental health challenges, and this progress has been slowed by the current normal. Mental Health America has recorded a 19% increase in screening for clinical anxiety in the first weeks of February, and a 12% increase in the first two weeks of March. 

Mr. Rob Felton, one of our BHS counselors, states that, “Unfortunately, the emotions of fear and anxiety can come to the surface as we start thinking about the future or how life is different. This can also become overwhelming especially if you are paying attention to the news all the time.” He also has a few suggestions to help with coping during the current normal:

1) Take a break from the news or media. This includes social media. I know, it’s hard to put the phone down…..

2) Be present with yourself and meet your own needs- healthy diet and daily exercise.

3) Be productive- accomplish something. In addition to getting your school work done, look around your house or apartment, yard, or living space and complete a task. Cook a meal, clean a drawer, clear out a closet, clean your room.

4) Find your outlet- music, art, exercise, gaming. Whatever you enjoy doing to reduce stress will help.

5) Connect with people. Talk with friends or family. If you are struggling, talk about it. Or just laugh.

At the end of the day, and ‘till the end of the pandemic, we are in this together. Some people are better at dealing with stressors than others, but all responses to the current normal are still valid and heard. If you or someone you know are in a situation where you don’t have an out, here are some resources:

 

For information/resources: https://mhanational.org/covid19, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Disaster Distress Helpline: call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746

National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224

Text Teen Link: 866-833-6546, 6 PM to 9:30 PM

Call Teen Link: 206-461-4922

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: call 1-800-273-8255

Dial 911 in an emergency

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