Pandemic increases mental health issues

CTE counselor, Barbara Thompson talks with student.

  There has been an outbreak at George County High School, and it is more common than most people think. It has been here since the beginning of time, and it is called anxiety.

  According to the article, “Anxiety Overload” in the School Counselor Journal by the American School Counselor Association, most teenagers in high school, before the pandemic, anxieties  were centered around school work, grades, fitting in with friends and social fears. Now that COVID-19 is here, it has caused even more anxiety such as isolation from peers and teachers and school support services, difficulty with remote learning, access to any reliable internet, food insecurities and homelessness.

   Ninth and 10th grade school counselor Tracy Churchwell says she sees at least 30 students per week with the most common issue being anxiety. 

   “After the pandemic, students have felt isolated, so loneliness and depression has risen in addition students have experienced a high level of uncertainty,” Churchwell said. Churchwell also notes that students have been put under more mental stress and it is important to take care of oneself, even in times like these. 

  “There are many strategies you can use to help yourself such as; deep breathing, journaling, affirmations, prayer and meditation.” 11th and 12th grade counselor Allyson Howard said. According to Howard, some ways to help fellow classmates include spreading positivity, listening to their problems, and being someone they can talk to.

   “Most people don’t understand that one kind word can change the mood for someone’s whole day,” CTE counselor Barbara Thompson said. 

   According to the counselors, Mental health issues are serious and the counselor has made it very clear that they take their job seriously.

   Mental health affects the way one can feel and act, it is not always something that someone can see.

 “Issues do not have to be huge, students need someone to talk to, just to sort their feelings out. Sometimes it’s therapeutic to talk to someone even about something minor,” Churchwell said. “All three counselors love our students and we enjoy talking with them. It makes me sad that I can’t always fix their problems but I can be here for them, encourage them and provide coping skills.”

   Remember, it is always better to find someone to talk to rather than to suffer in silence, especially if one feels that it is too much to handle. Please find a trusted adult or contact our school counselors to seek help.