Study Showed Mental-Health Struggles Increased During Pandemic

By Valerie Plata

Mental health struggles increased for many college students during the pandemic.

According to a May 2020 article titled “Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic as a College Student” from University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry, it stated, “It is well-studied that college students are especially prone to feelings of loneliness, and they experience higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to the general population. During this period of social isolation, uncertainty and abrupt transitions, they are prone to further worsening of these feelings.”

As noted in the article above, “Removal from their social support system and extracurricular activities at their school can cause students to feel less connected with their friends, organizations and hobbies. In addition, they are facing uncertainty about their future, their own health, and the health of their friends and loved ones. The situation they are living through is stressful and anxiety provoking, as there is a constant fear of the unknown in addition to a loss of control, making them especially vulnerable to developing mental health concerns.”

The Jed Foundation, a non-profit focused on mental health issues of young adults, conducted an online survey with nearly 200 college and graduate students from across the country. It found, “A combined 63% of students say that their emotional health is worse than before the COVID-19 pandemic and 56% of students are significantly concerned with their ability to care for their mental health.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on its COVID-19 webpage, stated, “Excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, and difficulty with attention and concentration are some signs of stress.” To handle that, do some self-care: take breaks from the news, connect with close family and friends and participate in faith-based organizations. Additionally, take active steps for self-care.  

Elizabeth Delgado, a student at the College of Southern Nevada, said she found her mental health worsening due to the shift to online education during the pandemic. She is a social person who really appreciates the interaction with colleagues and professors so having no access to either impacted her.

Delgado added, “I feel unmotivated almost every single day since learning from home. I feel so unmotivated because it is so easy to procrastinate in your own home. Most of us sit in bed when on Zoom. Also most of my classes have no verbal communication at all.”

Berenice Hernandez, a student at CSN, said, “(The pandemic) made it worse since I was stuck in my house for several months not socializing with anyone nor going out and being in school. Being isolated from the world really affected me.”

Some students had a more positive experience.

Madison Beckham, CSN student, said, “I don’t think my mental health has been affected negatively, in fact my anxiety has actually gone down. And though I am extrovert I get enough socialization through church with friends to not be depressed.”

Things may return somewhat back to normal soon. June 1 Nevada is opening to 100% capacity, according to Governor Steve Sisolak. Students will have an option to go back to school in the fall on campus or continue online courses with the hope of being socially connected to their peers and professors, and for some bettering their mental health.

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