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COVID 19’s Toll on Mental Health
by Georgia Van Amsterdam (georgiaqv [at] yahoo.com)
Tuesday May 18th, 2021 2:50 PM
This is an Op-Ed in response to Stephanie Saul’s Article entitled, “For many college students, pandemic life is disappointing. For others, it is a financial crisis”, and why more attention needs to be drawn to the mental health crisis.
My attention has been drawn to the fact that it has been a little over a year since the pandemic started and everyone seems to be disregarding the mental health damage it has caused to college students. On February third, twenty-twenty, The United States declared itself to be in a public health emergency. As a college student who was in the midst of my sophomore year, the only worry I was faced with was studying for finals or when to get purchase groceries next. During my spring break, I was notified that I lost my job due to covid. I was heartbroken as I wasn’t going to be able to see the smiling faces of the kids I had once taught swimming lessons to. The weeks in isolation began to fly by and the death rates for covid climbed higher each day. I started to fear people for the first time and enjoyed hiding inside my apartment. The more I feared going outside, the less I even wanted to. I’d spend hours confined in my room because I found that dissociating in bed was safer than potentially getting ill. The anxiety, for me, remained a constant everywhere I turned. I feared time, I feared sickness, I feared being alone, I feared spending money, and I feared when I could see my family again. School no longer was something I enjoyed, but something I loathed doing. Throughout the three semesters, I’ve been in school, no accommodations for the students had been made. I found that anytime a professor would try to empathize with the students they may be facing difficulty, it felt fictitious because no tangible action was being taken. By July of twenty-twenty, I knew I needed to seek therapy. In my experience, the adults I came to didn’t take me seriously when I advocated I needed help as I isolated myself to the point where no one could see what was internally going on. By the time I was financially stable enough to pay out of pocket for therapy, I spent hours out of my days tirelessly searching for a therapist who had the availability or could show up to the appointments. The weeks continue to progress and I was still unlucky when it came to finding help. This left me feeling defeated for a long time. It took me until April of twenty-twenty-one to receive the therapeutic help I desperately sought. I firmly believe that there should not be this much difficulty for a young adult to receive therapeutic aid. I am genuinely concerned about how underrepresented mental health conversations are and how inaccurate the statistics seem to be. More awareness and aid need to be given to students to support their mental health, to fully recover from this pandemic, and flourish once we regain a sense of normalcy again. Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/world/college-students-economic-struggle.html?searchResultPosition=36
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