Students and Mental Health: The True Facts and Tips 

Mckalah Jimenez  , Staff Writer

Students all over the district are going through the hardships of battling with mental struggles and illness throughout this whole pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak, which caused us to go into lockdown started in March 2020, a little over a year ago, has caused more tremendous mental health issues than ever before.

The latest statistics from the State of Mental Health in America show substantial numbers of many youth and adults working through or discovering issues with mental health. The number of people who were looking for the resources  for their mental health has skyrocketed.

All the way from January to September 2020, 315,000 people had an anxiety screening: a 93% increase over the 2019 total amount of anxiety. Another 534,784 people took a depression screening, which shows a 63% increase over the 2019 total number of depression. “My mental health throughout this pandemic was a rollercoaster ride, going from good to bad and then back up to being good”, Kai Khemphomma, senior at Edison High School stated in his interview. In another interview, Shaun McMichael, the Program Manager for Pongo Teen Writing, also mentioned his, “…mental health was up, my anxiety most of all was very high since I was starting a new job from home, and I had to learn to do things from home remotely.” 

So many students from all over the state have had an increase in mental health issues within the past year. Statistics have shown that the main proportion of youth between the ages of 11-17 who had some sort of access to screening was 9% higher than the average in 2019.

Not only have the numbers of the youth searching for help with their mental health increased but throughout the whole COVID-19 pandemic youth between the ages of 11-17 have been more likely than any other age group to score for moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. The statistics report was taken just this January of 2021, from the testing of 2020.

Once I shared this information with my interviewees, they were shocked yet not surprised by the numbers. “I’m not surprised the statistics are that high since we are going through a rough patch just about now,” Kiara Sanchez, a sophomore at Edison High stated.

I also asked them what teachers can do to help stabilize student’s mental health once we go back to in-person learning and hybrid classrooms. Teachers could be more supportive. “Try not to make so much work for students to learn, we lose motivation doing so much work. In the end of the day, we get the work done, however, the teachers should be fair and more lenient with students”, Sanchez proclaimed. “Teachers should assess how much stress they’re putting on the students and be mindful of those who struggle with their day-to-day life,” Khemphomma added during his interview. Shaun McMichael had a different approach to the question, “Teachers should have a revised and more realistic version of success and what it looks like to be successful.” 

However, during this period away from the classroom and other students, many have had the chance to grow and reevaluate themselves in new surroundings. “At the beginning, it wasn’t that bad. It gave me the break I needed, and I gained more confidence in myself,” Sanchez stated. Valentine, a junior at Edison High mentioned how his, “mental health has been doing a lot better than others.” For Khemphomma, he noticed that he started to take better care of himself and his mental health. “I stopped talking to a lot of people, worked out, changed my mentality/ lifestyle completely.”