It is has only become apparent in the recent weeks the catastrophic effect COVID-19 is having on physical health, let alone mental health. Everyday life structures have been thrown into jeopardy, including the nationwide closure of all schools and universities, without the prospect of celebrating the milestones you have worked so hard for; including graduation.
This, unfortunately, is this case for myself and hundreds of thousands of students around the globe. It’s personally a feeling of uncertainty, of fear, of worry for what the next few months of my life could hold. In situations as unprecedented as these, it has been crucial for me to prioritise what is most important during global crisis, including my mental well-being.
Luckily, I’ve always felt that my mental health has been extremely mild compared to the debilitating battle young people can have with their minds on a daily basis, with a staggering number of adolescents having their current mental-health problems worsened by the virus.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year and yet 70% adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions, at a sufficiently early age.
However dark these times seem as we live in a climate overrun with fake news and scare mongering online, there are an array of coping mechanisms out there for us bewildered students, which have given me a positive outlook on the situation and helped to keep my fears at bay. Use this spare time to:
- Learn a new skill: for me personally, I have always wanted to get my French skills up to scratch again, as I loved learning the language all the way through school. Use this time to focus your energy into a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the time to. These next few months could not be better!
- Don’t disregard your studies: although it seems very likely that us third years will never return to normal university schedule again, focus on your studies and deadlines with the resources you have available. For me as a journalist student, I am constantly on the lookout for stories to be writing and interviews to be conducting (socially distanced interviews, of course).
- Most importantly- stay connected! We live in a technology filled world in which we are lucky enough to be able to maintain contact with loved ones. Face-time your friends, call your parents, have a (socially distanced) cup of tea with your elderly neighbour.
Remember, we are all in this together, and it is as important to take care of your mental health alongside your physical health in these turbulent, unpredictable times.