Spann: This new norm and its effect on our mental health

Columnist Taelore Spann discusses the ramifications of 2020 on increasingly dangerous mental health issues. 

Taelore Spann

Hello, and welcome to week five! I would like to start this column by asking, how are you? I have come to the understanding that this quarantine period, the pandemic, college, your home life, financial situation or just life can affect your mental health.

After the start of the pandemic, people became more cautious due to COVID-19. The human species is such a social species, and that alone has forced so many individuals to struggle with feelings from being shut in.

I feel that the online schooling platform has escalated the feeling of being alone. Some people aren’t leaving their rooms during school hours. Additionally, so many “normal college” activities aren’t happening now, so what reason do they have to leave?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about and your community stronger.”

Life is hard enough without a pandemic looming over our heads. Mental illness has such a negative connotation; society views people who suffer from mental illnesses as “damaged goods.”

This stigma keeps people from wanting to talk about things that can potentially be harmful, which is why I recommend utilizing some of the resources we have here on campus. At this site, you can obtain information about Student Counseling Services, Thielen Student Health Center, Student Wellness and recreation services. 

Each of these services will help you deal with this new norm, whether you need to speak to one of the fine clinical staff and faculty at student services, reintroduce exercise or some outdoor activities back into your routine with recreation services or even if you just need a place to get a check-up in order to be pointed to the right direction.

It is okay to not feel okay all the time. It will be okay because, as it turns out, about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. It is said that the later generations like Generation Z are now being deemed more depressed and suicidal than their older counterparts.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is just because we hate our life or just want the easy way out. I would say we are just more aware than other generations about things that constantly make our world look pitiful — issues like police brutality, immigration disputes and even the response to domestic sexual violence.

So please be sure to not only take time for yourself after classes to go for a run, go to the gym, talk to a friend or even look into student health and wellness. Continue to do what’s best for you and have a great week five!