How COVID-19 Has Affected Mental Health

How+COVID-19+Has+Affected+Mental+Health

The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District is now in its seventh month of COVID-19 restrictions. In an effort to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus and to help prevent people who are more likely to experience serious complications from contracting COVID-19, The Alameda County Board of Health has extended restrictions on social gatherings which in turn has prevented people from coming together in large groups.  

Although the continued social distancing directives are expected to help slow the spread of the virus, one concern that specifically affects teens and adults is how it relates to mental health. 

Zachary Radecke, the Social and Emotional Learning Counselor and Wellness Center Coordinator for Livermore High School, said there are several challenges students may be facing. “A lot of students might have already felt a little bit isolated, and now they feel really isolated,” he said “Anxiety, if you break it down, is often kind of like a fear of what’s to come and uncertainty about the future…” 

Students now have to navigate through an entirely new system of learning along with the general distress and unpredictability that comes with this pandemic. 

Josiah Alpher (12) gives his insight on the current situation students may be going through. “In a world that has so much technology…it can feel really easy to be like, isolated or alone.”

Though many feel lonely, students like Alpher said they are trying to keep their heads up through these challenging times with an understanding attitude. “I’ve definitely been looking more on the bright side of things, and being more positive about it. Like, I know this is my last year and my senior year but I do realize there is obviously a reason why we can’t go to school…” 

Though times may be tough, distance between students and the general public has allowed them to take a break from common stressors, and work on their mental health. Kira Korsack (10) said, “Over the summer my mental health has actually gotten me to a better state of mind…it brings yourself to open up more and get creative.” 

While students are dealing with the effects of COVID-19, teachers and staff are trying to cope as well. The stress of navigating an online platform while trying to effectively teach students through a screen is a challenge that could potentially affect their mental state.

LHS Spanish 1 teacher Erienne Morton said, “I’m just trying to keep a positive perspective on things. It’s really easy to get bogged down by what the media is saying and what other people are putting out there as far as negativity goes, but I’m just keeping a positive outlook.”

The LVJUSD has posted online resources for students, faculty members and their families to give them advice on how to deal with the stress and uncertainty of life during this pandemic.

A few of their recommendations include knowing the signs of stress, keeping things in perspective, getting information on the pandemic and its effects from trusted resources, and putting limits on the time you spend watching and reading about the pandemic. Also speaking to someone you trust or a licensed professional can help you process the stress that you may be experiencing because of the pandemic.

 For more resources and information on mental health issues connected to the pandemic and school closure, LHS students, staff, and families can visit the LHS Wellness Center website.