- Martin Yoon
Students and Mental Health
The year 2020 for the students was disastrous for many reasons. Proms were cancelled. Sport events and many academic competitions were cancelled. Students were dismayed by the sudden transition into the online learning environment. However, the most destructive and painful to the students was mental health.
For the years before the Covid-19, mental health issues among students have been undeniably harming students. Students, particularly highschool students, are extremely vulnerable to mental health disorders as they experience their first mental disorders and become clueless without understanding and accepting those feelings. Encountering their first mental instability, students still have to deal with academic pressure and social expectations around their peers.
To understand mental disorders deeply, I have reached out to my school Mental health Specialist, Maureen Muir .
“Two main mental health diagnoses that I see the most are depression and anxiety,” she said and listed symptoms. Sleeping disorder, lack of motivation, appetite changes, mood fluctuation, and so on. The impact of mental health stretches over every aspect of our daily life; every decision we make is interconnected with our status of mental health.
What was even more shocking was her later remarks about how mental health affects even physical health of the students.
“If students are not totally aware of mental health concerns that they have, actually a lot of primary care doctors see this too. People come with headaches, stomachaches, and racing hearts.”
These are small but consequential changes to our bodies and mindset. Without mental health awareness, these changes will subconsciously drives students into serious development; most notably, suicide has been the second leading cause of teenagers’ death for many years, and the teen suicide rates has been growing at an alarming speed over the past 10 years.
Coronavirus outbreak not just added but aggressively poured the fuels for mental illness for students. Suffering from an unexpected transition to a learning environment and severe social isolation from their peers, more than 75% students answered that their mental health deteriorated after the covid-19.
Depressingly, students often find themselves failed to reach out to necessary treatments, as gruesome inequality pervades throughout the mental health treatments. Placement of mental health specialists like Muir at school for students to consult with is not consistent and ultimately depends on independent school budgets not state or federal level.
There is a strong need in establishing structure essential for taking care of students with treatable mental disorders. Without quick and reliable intervention, students, falling deep into the trap of mental disorders, will have no chance of ever coming back.