The pandemic’s impact on mental health

Mental+struggles+during+the+pandemic.+

Billy Kraft

Mental struggles during the pandemic.

Sophia Gutierrez and ReAna Hummel

How remote learning has altered the mental health of  RB students:

Sophia Gutierrez, Staff Reporter

Many Riverside Brookfield High School students have been greatly impacted by this inconvenient time in the world. It most certainly is not easy living through a global pandemic, but on top of that students now have to endure countless changes within the school system as well, one of those changes being the switch from in person to remote learning. With stress piling up it is starting to take a toll on the mental health of numerous RB students. 

“I think that it has had both a positive and negative effect on my mental state…negatives are that my motivation isn’t as big or as top of a priority and it’s easy to procrastinate,” Ava Regan, a sophomore at RB said. Most students have primarily negative things to say about all the new changes

“My mental state is not as good as it could be right now. Remote learning is definitely a challenge and learning is more difficult than before,” Dante Moscosa, another RB sophomore said, “I have been stressing out and it has been hard to find motivation to even get out of bed”. 

While motivation is seeming to be one of the most prominent issues amongst students that are doing remote learning, breakout groups were also a topic brought up. Being that most breakout groups are completely randomized it definitely causes students to face some repercussions.

“I would say it has definitely affected my grades. A lot of people don’t like to participate and being with people I don’t know doesn’t help at all,” Moscosa said, “My grades being affected has greatly shifted my mental health because constantly being stressed out about grades drains me”. However, this is a newer issue that has come as a result of the pandemic and having to do school online.

While most teachers believe breakout groups will help students and encourage them to work with others, the opposite of that seems to be a more common pattern. For some students they are efficient and helpful, but most teachers do not give students an option, therefore, those who aren’t the most comfortable with the idea oftentimes are forced to be in breakout groups with people they don’t know and that can be discouraging to some.

In addition, students are also having to miss out on some of the most memorable high school experiences, like homecoming and prom. This is also said to have taken a toll on mental health, due to the fact that when students have something to look forward to it gives them motivation, however, when what they were looking forward to is taken away it leaves them feeling unmotivated.

 “Some students get very anxious or nervous about the small things, like being randomly called on in a class where they might not know anyone, also as I stated before the randomized groups can make students very nervous…some teachers of mine have been very understanding with this and always make sure at least one other peer or friend is with you in these groups…I truly believe that other teachers should take this into their class,” Regan said. While most students do their best to get the best out of the situation, some simply are too nervous or shy to even speak up about it.

“I feel like some students are starting to feel overwhelmed with the work that we are being given, on top of corona and on top of what people have to go through at home, after school. I feel like teachers expect us to be doing work at home all day but many students have siblings, work, and many have to support their families as many parents have lost their jobs,” Moscosa said, taking a different approach.

A heavy workload isn’t necessarily ideal for those who have many other responsibilities at home that have become even more important during this pandemic.

The coronavirus has made us all crazy. Many students, teachers, and parents have felt some type of pressure during the pandemic, whether it be at school, at home, or at work. We have gone from daily routines to daily mixups. The lack of routine, and the lack of control can be really stressful for everyone. Here’s some tips on how to make all the chaos going on around us feel a little less overwhelming.

How to cope with mental struggles during the pandemic:

ReAna Hummel, Staff Reporter

Take longer breaks- by taking longer breaks during classes, it gives your mind a chance to recoup. During classes, you can ask a teacher to get some water or go to the bathroom, during clubs/sports you can also ask your teacher/coach for some water or to take a short break. 

“Allowing yourself breaks, it’s ok to put off your homework, it’s okay to put off the things you need to do because the most important thing is to take care of yourself,”  said RBHS psychologist Lisa Hayes. 

Go on walks with family and friends because it, “Will let your mind take a mental break from staring at the computer,” said Hayes.

 Doing this is so important, giving your brain a break and changing your environment even if it is for 10 minutes can be really helpful. 

Do something that makes you happy- Something that can get you motivated to go and do something. Whether it be baking, going shopping, reading, or hanging out with friends. These are all great ways to cope with mental struggles like anxiety, stress, and depression. 

“Think back to what made you happy, it can be anything,” Hayes said. 

Tricking your mind- such as practicing mindful techniques when feeling a certain way can be very helpful. Finding things in the room that start with a certain letter or color may help with anxiety too.

“Trick your mind, think of the first ten lines or a song, things like that will help break the ongoing cycle of those thoughts at night,” said Hayes. 

Reach out!– Reaching out to someone like, parents, counselors, teachers, and friends are all really helpful for difficult situations when you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed. Reach out to your counselor or your school social worker. They can provide you with really great information and great advice to deal with topics like stress and anxiety. You can schedule a meeting with them to talk about your feelings or just a general check in. They are there for a reason and want to help you. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed for how you feel. You can check out the RBHS social work/psychology Instagram page (@rbhs_socialworkpsych), for tips on how to cope with mental struggles.

All teens, parents, teachers, and people, in general, go through some sort of mental struggle. If you ever are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed try one of these tips and try to contact your school counselor or school social worker. I hope these tips helped!