People are shown at the COVID-19 testing site at the Curative kiosk outside of the Memorial Student Center on the campus of Prairie View A&M University Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in Prairie View, Texas.
Stress, sadness, anxiety, isolation. I am a student whose mental health has been impacted by all of these struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a world where human connection and communication is essential for students to learn and grow as individuals, this has been sadly stripped away only to be left with uncertainty and hopelessness. I want to be a voice for U.S. college students and provide solutions that have helped me with my mental health as a student during the pandemic as well as point out what colleges and universities need to recognize.
According to a survey performed by activeminds.org, “80 percent of college students report that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health.” Since the pandemic first developed in December of 2019, students are still unaware of services at their universities that can provide them with mental health services. “More than 55 percent of students say they would not know where to go if they or someone they knew needed mental health services.” Most college campuses in Connecticut are lacking in resources, offering TED talks and outdated advocacy videos that provide little connection with the viewer. Counseling services are also restricted by the number of sessions you are able to attend and there are frequently not enough counselors available. These resources should be limitless and always accessible.
Students can highly benefit from programs such as virtual and in-person group therapy sessions and weekly check-ins. Educating professors and staff extensively about mental health will also prepare colleges and universities throughout the U.S. for the future since we have seen the serious impact on mental health due to the pandemic. Programs like these can give students the support they need, a sense of empathy, validation and understanding around what they are experiencing aside from the outdated resources on their college and universities webpages.
Outside of these changes that can implemented, there have been many self-care practices that have helped me as a student and that are recommended for students struggling through this difficult time. Having a routine, minimizing time online, spending time picking up a hobby, engaging in physical activity, taking time away from the news and social media are all great ways to release stress related to the pandemic. These practices alone can help and are proven to minimize stress and anxiety. Your voice and advocacy can be one step closer in getting mental health resources improved and resources that are specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic implemented in colleges and universities across the United States.
Josephine Toni is a student at Southern Connecticut State University.
This content was originally published here.