COVID Furthers Mental Health Issues


The CDC reported a spike in mental health issues as a result of the pandemic in June 2020 (Photo from the CDC website)

McKayla Hall, Reporter

Isolation, unpredictability, and parental stress play huge roles in feelings of depression and anxiety, now add a virus to the list. Life is constantly changing due to new information still being discovered about the virus. Social distancing and quarantining are mandated. Some parents are losing their jobs, and there are loved ones with COVID-19. These circumstances conjure a lot of stress, especially for students juggling school and/or work. 

There are limitations on coping skills that can be used since spending time with others is commonly involved, but there are options still available. 

Breathing exercises aren’t used often, but they’re helpful because diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing,” triggers the body’s relaxation response. Contrary, chest breathing triggers the body’s stress response, which is why diaphragmatic breathing is used during meditation. One type of meditation is mindfulness, where the focus is on the present and keeping thoughts or emotions from wandering, without judging yourself if they do. A way to do this is to take a moment to calm down and focus on how your body feels.

Sticking to a daily routine as much as possible can create stability in life. According to Northwestern Medicine, having no routine can cause poor sleep, poor eating habits, and poor physical condition, along with stress. All of these separately contribute to many mental disorders. Creating routines doesn’t have to be a difficult task — implementing one thing at a time into daily life at a comfortable pace can build up a schedule naturally. 

Mental and emotional well-being are always important, especially when health services aren’t as accessible. Depression can also weaken the immune system by the stress hormone that comes from it lowering the immune system’s lymphocytes. That reduces the body’s ability to fight off antigens, making people more susceptible to COVID-19. While there isn’t control over other people’s emotions, such as parental figures, control over your own.