OCC Students Give Mental Health Advice for Pandemic Depression and Anxiety | Characteristics
Being a student during a global pandemic has taken its toll on many students over the past year, forcing them not only to adapt to the new online format adopted by the school, but also to change the way they do. dealing with mental issues brought on by the stressors of everything that has happened in the past year.
According to a study by Mental Health America, the number of people screened with moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety has increased throughout 2020 and continues to be higher than pre-pandemic rates. Also, in a survey conducted by the Jed Foundation, they found that 43% of students surveyed had faced a deterioration in their emotional health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While this is disheartening news, it is important for students to know that they are not alone in dealing with the stress and anxiety brought on by the past tumultuous year. There are many different ways to deal with the stress of living during the pandemic and being a student while in lockdown.
Ahead of the pandemic, Orange Coast College music major William Newell stabilized his mental health before COVID-19 by taking days of mental health when he needed to recharge. Newell chose the days he had less schoolwork to avoid falling behind, and spent them doing something that gave his brain a rest.
“I have found this to be the best way for me to take a break and collect my thoughts. The following day, I find myself in a better mood and I find that I am more productive, ”Newell said.
Newell also surrounded himself with his friends as a coping mechanism. Once the restrictions on the pandemic began and social life abruptly ended, he was forced to face his thoughts head-on.
“The things I didn’t like about me I started to change so as not to constantly hate them,” Newell said.
Newell’s solid improvement in mental health along with the beneficial distraction of school put him in a better shape for life before his 40s.
“Music has always been an outlet for me,” said Newell, “I started playing the violin in college. It was in the orchestra that my love of music burst.
He was inclined to play the piano more frequently during lockdown, as it was the only instrument he owned. This made Newell realize that his love for the piano is much greater than any other instrument, and it became an outlet he turned to when he experienced feelings of sadness or stress in school.
In addition to a global pandemic and a school, many people have also faced social situations beyond their control. OCC senior medical assistant Wren Morris struggled to lose friends at the start of the pandemic.
“I lost a lot of friends because of a bad fight and their [living] far. Some of them also return home with their parents and lose contact after a while, ”Morris said.
Losing friends at such a rapid rate also had a major impact on Morris’ mental health. “It made me feel unlovable, in a way,” Morris said.
Loss has also been a major factor throughout the pandemic, not only due to the loss of people to COVID-19, but also the loss of people due to the social tension of self-isolation. and the inability to go out and see them.
However, Morris has opportunities for every time his sanity begins to decline. “I’m journaling, and I’m looking for my fiance and my friends. I reach out to people who would contact me if their sanity was in the gutter, ”Morris said.
According to University of Rochester Medical CenterJournaling is a great way to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety because writing down your thoughts on paper can help clear your mind. Journaling can help control symptoms, prioritize concerns, and track stressors in your life.
“I kept my mental health under control before COVID by always hanging out around my friends and doing stuff with them,” said Sophia Williams, a film and television major at OCC. “It helped make some great memories with them and bond.”
For people who have coped with spending time with others like Williams, COVID-19 has been particularly striking. Without being able to see people, friendships became more difficult to maintain.
“Once he hit a lot of real people colors came out and I ended up losing a lot of my friends,” Williams said. “But on a positive note, it brought me closer to genuine people and always there for me.”
During the pandemic, Williams had to readjust the way she dealt with her mental health by doing it alone, like many others. Since COVID-19, instead of dealing with depression and anxiety by spending time with her friends, she now uses her creativity as an outlet.
“Now I tell people who are facing any sort of anxiety or depression like what I’m facing is putting that energy into something beautiful like crafts, music or writing. Williams said. “Channel that energy into something productive and make it into something that can even help and inspire others.”
While this is an unlucky time for students during a pandemic, there are plenty of resources online where we can find help. Visit the American Association for Anxiety and Depression website or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information on healthy coping mechanisms.