As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it brings mental health burdens for people who struggle in times of stress. With social distancing being heavily practiced throughout the United States, the repercussions of such actions are soon to be felt. The Center for Disease Control (CDC)  has even set up a page on its website to help bring guidance to those who may be struggling. 

Mental health issues are heightened in times of stress; when times seem uncertain, it becomes even worse. Taking the time to take care of yourself can be a big step for positively moving forward. The CDC recommends making time to unwind, finding a way to keep your body sound and connecting with others. 

This can include finding ways to have face-to-face contact. It may be hard these days, but platforms like Zoom and Netflix Party are given new meaning during these uncertain times. Forms of entertainment can also be utilized. This can include Virtual games, puzzles and game boards. 

The New York Times has further addressed the harms of social isolation for those with mental health struggles. In a recent New York Times health story, “Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist, found that social isolation is twice as harmful to a person’s physical health as obesity.” 

Because of this, staying constantly aware of your mental state and finding someone to check up on can go a long way. The American Medical Association advises to “Monitor yourself for symptoms of depression/stress disorder such as prolonged sadness, difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories and/or feelings of hopelessness. Talk to a trusted colleague or supervisor. Be open to seeking professional help if symptoms persist or worsen over time.”

The closure of schools has heightened mental health issues as well. Kathy Martinez, a college freshman who studies communication at Grand Canyon University, shared what it was like for her first year of college to be cut short. 

“It was a stressful time having to walk to class and see students panicking around me as they were quickly packing up their cars,” said Martinez. “I was also nervous about transitioning to an online community since I enjoy being in class and listening to professors.”.

On a personal note, I started to realize the ramifications of social distancing shortly after California’s “Stay at Home” order was enacted. 

I have battled with an overwhelming sense of loneliness that is made better with interactions. I have learned to lean on the people that support you and appreciate the little interactions in life. I used to work for Campus Life office and every time I came into the office I felt a sense of warmth.  The little discussions I had I realized made my day better and made me confident during the day. My loneliness was temporarily relieved through my work life. 

During difficult times, society needs to become increasingly more aware of mental health struggles. And for anyone who may be struggling, I hope you know things will get better. 

I wanted to write this as a word of encouragement and provide information to those who may not have anyone to lean on. I hope mental health awareness is brought to light during these times. The pandemic will live on in history and understanding how these situations affect you can help you get through future tough times.