Pandemic Taking a Steep Emotional Toll on Young People

By Abby Corado

Studies have shown that along with the economic status plummeting, so has mental health. With having to quarantine ourselves, social distance, and adapt to the pandemic’s lifestyle, our general well-being has been compromised in doing so.

In Dr. Ronald W. Pies’ article “Is the Country Experiencing a Mental Health Pandemic?” at the Psychiatric Times, he observes that, “The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms were substantially higher than reported in 2019.” The age group of those are around the age of 18 and below are deemed to be more likely in experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorder, trauma stressor-related disorder (due to the pandemic), and depression. Because of this pandemic, an increase in mental illnesses has occurred, and those that experienced these mental illnesses prior to the pandemic seem to have their symptoms heightened.

I can easily attest to being affected by these substantial standards and say that I’ve found my easy-going and social nature to be reduced down from extrovertedness to being a hermit. Life before the pandemic–in which I was my most outgoing self–held instances where I was willing to try new things and just be my loud self. At school, I would randomly talk to people without worrying about if they found me weird just in hopes of making new friends. Now, I often find my already-present anxiety enhanced when performing simple tasks in public such as asking a Walmart employee where the toilet paper is or even ordering my food.

To simplify, I, like many of you, find difficulty in basic tasks that involve little-to-no human interaction and find safety and comfort in my room. 

Mental health should be one of your top priorities in order to be able to feel nourished and fulfilled with what you do in life. Now that it’s a new year, I wanted to officially create habits that are everlasting in regards to my mental well-being and have decided to research ways that will further support your psychiatric sanity. It affects how you make decisions, how you perceive certain topics, and how you handle high-stress situations.

So you may be asking yourself, “What can I do in order to replenish and nourish my mental health under all these circumstances?” There are plenty of ways that you can treat and take care of yourself. In “Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health | University Health Service” the University of Michigan provides 10 helpful tips on ways that you can start prioritizing yourself and your mental well-being. Some habits that have helped me through this pandemic would be getting out of my room and giving myself time away from technology–just basking in the sun’s warmth–making sure that I try to keep my room clean, and not being so hard on myself while leaving room to make mistakes.

Though mental illnesses in its entirety can be difficult to cope with and easily become a burden to your lifestyle, you can start by doing easy tasks such as making your bed in the morning or drinking the right amount of water in order to feel more accomplished and motivated to continue doing better for yourself.

6 comments

  • Thank you for addressing the issue of Mental Health! In addition to the tips recommended in the article, I would also like to mention that there are many resources available to our Glenn/SEA students and their families. In addition to school counselors, these resources include: NLMUSD Virtual Calming Room, District Mental Health professionals, Community Schools Initiative/Partners, Margaret’s Place and Pacific Clinics. If students are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stressed or depressed during this extremely difficult time, and feel they would benefit from some additional support, they can email their school counselor who can then refer them to the appropriate resources.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi, Ms. Corado,

    Thank you for addressing this important and timely topic, and for the call-out to my article in Psychiatric Times. As you know, the pandemic has taken a steep emotional toll on millions of Americans and people worldwide, and younger populations have been hit especially hard by the isolation, social distancing, and irregular school openings and closings. Just to clarify what may seem a small point, but which is important in the clinical context. As I note in my article, not all emotional disturbances amount to “mental illness,” as defined in the clinical literature. I noted that, “Upon careful, clinical evaluation, such self-reported symptoms [as anxiety or depression] may or may not turn out to be a clinically significant disease or mental illness.” For example, people may feel “demoralized” by the pandemic, and that is something to be taken very seriously–but that doesn’t mean they are “mentally ill” in the sense psychiatrists would use that term, or in the sense used in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition). Put another way: many emotional ups and downs or occasional feelings of despair may be within the “normal” range of experience, given the nature of the pandemic. That said: students who feel that they can’t carry on the usual activities of daily living; or who feel hopeless or like not going on with life, should discuss their situation with a mental health professional or school counselor, as per Ms. Erbeznik’s note.

    Best regards,
    Ronald W. Pies, MD
    SUNY Upstate Medical University

    P.S. The title of your piece might be better phrased as, “Pandemic Taking a Steep Emotional Toll on Young People”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dr. Pies,
      My name is David Higgins and I am the newspaper advisor/teacher to Ms. Corado.

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment. We appreciate your clarification and expertise, and I will be changing the headline as per your suggestion.

      Thanks for reading!

      Sincerely,
      David Higgins

      Like

      • My privilege, Mr. Higgins. Your newspaper is covering much more important topics than my high school newspaper ever did, going back to the 1970s!

        Regards,
        Ron Pies

        Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Dr. Pies!
    I really appreciate the feedback and constructive criticism. Thank you for clarifying my misconceptions of mental health and illnesses in it’s entirety.

    Liked by 1 person

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