Mental health of college students dropping during pandemic
Students were already struggling with mental health, anxiety and stress before the pandemic began. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for the American college-aged population, according to researchers Alyssa M. Lederer, Mary T. Hoban and Sarah K. Lipson in an article published in the Health Education and Behavior journal. These authors also warned that students were not getting the help that they needed even prior to the pandemic.
With the pandemic, young adults have now become one of the most vulnerable populations, as Matthew H. E. M. Browning et al. on PLOS ONE reported. He explained that health hotline calls increased by over 1,000% the month of April 2020 overall while Lederer reported that a mental health crisis is occurring on U.S. college campuses.
“In spring 2020, a total of 60% of college students who sought mental health services found them more difficult to access due to COVID-19,” said the American College Health Association and the Healthy Minds Network.
The Mainstream reached out to students to ask them how they feel about schooling during the pandemic. Out of 40 students emailed, two responded but asked to be anonymous. One is a UCC computer science student and the other is studying engineering.
How do you feel about Oregon going back into lockdown?
“I think it should happen, but I can’t help but be frustrated because not enough people are taking it seriously.”
“I feel like going back to lockdown is probably best for the overall good, but it doesn’t make it any easier on any of us.”
What has been the most difficult change you’ve had to adapt to because of COVID-19
“Losing my daily routine which is sort of disorienting.”
“I think the most difficult part for me has been having to take all of my chemistry classes remotely. I have a good conceptual understanding, but a lot of the lab experience I had hoped to gain has been severely diminished.”
What is the most difficult schooling adjusting you’ve had to make, especially with online classes?
“Time management and finishing an assignment within a day or two of starting it.”
“I enjoy online learning for some classes, things like writing transfer to online learning pretty well. But, there are some subjects that I really feel they need to be taught in person, just because of the hands-on experience they would give you. For example, biology often has dissections that can be recorded; however, the student doesn’t get the actual experience.”
Do you feel your academic needs are being met in online schooling? If you’re needs aren’t being met, what changes would you like to see?
“Yes, I don’t think I need anything else to meet my needs. But I can’t speak for others, of course.”
“I feel my academic needs are being met as best as possible during a pandemic. Many of my classes involve labs and hands-on experience that I am missing because of remote instruction.”
What are you most excited for academically once COVID has passed?
“Having an excuse to go outside and meet new people.”
“IN PERSON LABS.”
Do you feel that online schooling should continue to be an option for some students after COVID?
“Definitely. I’ve gotten way too comfortable with online schooling to just stop. Some people just don’t enjoy being in a classroom with others, so an environment like we have now with online school may be preferable.”
“Yes, there are some students who do better with online learning. I’m just not one of them. In some cases, it can be even more convenient than the conventional schooling method.”
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