College students, a demographic that already struggles with mental health, is experiencing even more stress due to COVID.
The coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted schools and universities, throwing them into an unprecedented tailspin that has created many economical and mental health problems. Making matters worse is the fact that the pandemic has impacted learning in ways that we can’t yet understand; while students can learn through online classes, having access to texts and professors, their learning environment has been uprooted. College students, a subset of young adults who are already coping with the abrupt transition into adulthood, have been having a tough time.
CDC stats show that suicide rates between the ages of 10 to 24 incresed by 57% from 2007 to 2017, with young people reporting increased problems with depression, anxiety and more. The coronavirus will most likely impact these stats and create even more issues.
The Huffington Post spoke with several experts who provided recommendations on how to cope with the mounting stress.
“College students have been experiencing high rates of stress and depression. Now, with the added stressors of the pandemic, more students are experiencing hopelessness and loneliness,” said Jessica Hold, assistant professor from Washington University. Coping tools that students used to have access to, like hanging out with their friends and opportunities for counseling, are now out of their reach, making it more important for parents and young adults to keep an eye out for warning signs.
Students should look for creative ways of socializing with friends aside from Zoom and texts, in an effort to try and emulate their college experience. Social distanced hangouts or group study sessions can work if taken outdoors and discussed and planned properly.
While it’s tough to avoid distractions when studying and attending lectures through a laptop, it’s important for students to create an environment that’s meant for study, even if that means clearing a corner of their room where they can put their laptop and someplace to sit. These settings provide students’ brains with a framework that allows for school time and that limits interruptions and distractions.
Universities should be providing their students with new activities and ways of staying involved with campus life. They should also provide options for counseling, prioritizing the importance of parents and students staying informed.
This year continues to push us beyond our comfort zones. It’s important for people to communicate effectively and to not take for granted the trauma and stress that they’re going through. The only way to stay on top of things and to stay healthy is to talk things out and reach out for help when necessary.