State of world calls for mental health check-ups, self care

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Lizzy Jack

SADD club treasurer and junior Lizzy Jack enjoys spending time with her dog to relieve stress.

The pandemic, remote learning fatigue, the national election and tense political climate, social isolation and other personal stressors through the past year certainly have taken a toll on students’ mental health.

Students might occasionally find themselves asking what life would have been like if this time was different, when life will go back to normal or what life will be like when it is finally normal again. As COVID-19 cases have risen to a third wave and chilly fall weather has kicked in, it is essential to prioritize checking in on mental health and developing beneficial self-care practices. According to Daniel Arkin from MSNBC, the CDC reported data from March to October showing that mental health-related emergency department visits went up by “31 percent among adolescents aged 12-17, compared to the same period the previous year.”

President of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club and junior Sydney Behrens is finding the importance of spending time off her phone by reading a book or going outdoors. “In quarantine, it has become very easy for me to stay isolated inside, but it is necessary for us to leave our houses. Whether it’s going for a run, a walk or just sitting outside it is extremely important to go outside. These easy things have drastically improved my mood, lessened my stress and has made it much easier to make the best of online school and not being able to see my friends,” Behrens said.

SADD club has been taking initiative to focus on the seriousness of mental health awareness this year. Forming a community, talking to peers and emphasizing fun and informative ways how students can improve their own mental health has been a necessary part of this. For instance, “thinking about all the different components of mental health that we may ignore such as the importance of sleep” has been a meeting topic, Behrens said.

The club meets every third Wednesday of the month from 11:20 to 11:50 at lunch and they discuss preventative measures to take instead of destructive or unhealthy decisions, such as saying “no” to drinking and driving.

Personally, I have been trying to take 15 minute breaks between assignments, which has greatly improved my productivity and stress levels.”

— Lizzy Jack

SADD club treasurer Lizzy Jack feels that it is necessary for students to check up on their mental health particularly because being on a computer for long hours can lead to burnout. “I believe students should take part in some sort of self care daily for at least 15 minutes to an hour,” Jack said. “Personally, I have been trying to take 15 minute breaks between assignments, which has greatly improved my productivity and stress levels.”

Junior Alex Lopez agrees that, taking time to focus on mental health can alleviate the stress from a student’s academic and personal life, but it also generally “allows for you to spend some time doing something that you enjoy. I’ve been taking walks, relaxing and listening to music and drawing when I have free time. During these times of uncertainty, my self-care practices have alleviated some of the stress I’ve had,” Lopez said.