The spread of Covid-19 posed a threat to the lives of many. Amidst the chaos, people stuck at home connected through social media platforms and shared their experiences. Quarantine restrictions served as witness to deteriorating mental conditions of all age groups.
While no age group could stay away from mental health issues, students were among the most vulnerable. As countries are stepping out of the pandemic and resuming normalcy, much caution is still involved. The pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health continues to be a revolving issue.
How is the post-pandemic era impacting students?
Adolescence is a vital time for an individual’s personality development process. Social seclusion and closure of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic worsened existing mental health issues in adolescents.
The post-pandemic era is scarred by the impact of the pandemic. Students are still suffering from a loss of routine and dealing with social isolation. They are also experiencing loneliness and loss of confidence due to the lack of on-ground exposure in recent years. Either is a great way to use a whiteboard with wheels having to tie it down to any one part of your facility.
How are schools responding to the issue?
Since the student community is worried about their mental health, schools are taking a dynamic stance. The pre-pandemic era involved schools offering mental health support for vulnerable students. However, this support was limited in terms of accessibility and available resources.
Many students require additional well-being and support. Schools responded to the mental health issues faced by students by arranging for guidance counselors who can help with early recognition of mental health issues and give proactive solutions. Many schools have ties with facilities offering primary care and mental health services. Once their in-house counselor diagnoses an individual with mental health issues, they get a reference to these facilities for proper medical care.
With the school’s assistance, students can access a certain extent of mental healthcare facilities. The moment matters reach dedicated professionals in external mental healthcare clinics, monetary concerns crop up. Affording these facilities becomes difficult with job cuts, layoffs, and financial challenges. Therefore, there is a need for the government to set up access to students looking for affordable health services through clinics and community providers.
For care outside of the school systems, teens can visit mental health practices like Geode Health, with several locations around the country. The clinics are easily accessible and offer cost-effective assistance for mental health concerns.
Social media and mental health
The pandemic became a boon for social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Information around mental health issues surfaced on the internet as more people added to the conversation with their experiences. Like any other topic ever discussed in society, even mental health issues faced backlash. However, a strong proposition came for sharing more information and awareness on the subject. When adolescents felt problems like anxiety and panic attacks, social media became a safe space for them as many groups, pages, and individuals engaged with mental health conditions.
Now, with schools reopening and social media becoming a critical space addressed in classes, students are being taught to utilize digital platforms for filtering accurate information and voicing their opinions. However, social media does not always wear the hero’s cape. Increased screen time is a leading cause of anxiety and poor sleep. It is also associated with mental and physical health problems and sedentary habits. Finding the right balance and channeling the resource toward healthy acquisitions are essential.
Schools and strategies to combat mental health issues
Schools contribute to improving the resilience of students by encouraging self-help strategies. To deal with the psychological impacts of the pandemic, students are taught to create short-term goals and mindful approaches to achieve them. Acts of gratitude and team activities also improve their confidence and mental health.
Peer support networks are another great tool. They allow students to create peer connections and check on their friends through connection programs like hobby clubs or class groups. Many schools also help with resource hubs and self-assessment tools to leverage digital technology for assistance with mental health.
Since the start of the pandemic, a majority of public schools in the United States have reported an increase in the number of students seeking mental health services. These schools have witnessed an increase in the staff’s concern regarding student anxiety, trauma, and depression.
As the world progresses and tries to wash the pandemic into the past, the colors of mental health inclusivity and dynamic discussions grow bolder. Schools nurture the nation’s future, and with more students seeking mental health services, the future seems bright and free from a large number of the depressed and vulnerable adult population.