by Julia Hawkins ’22
2020 has been nothing short of challenging and exhausting for everyone. Job losses and unemployment rates have skyrocketed, traditional graduations from the majority of schools across the state have been shut down since March, and very few schools are back to in-person learning full time, as Covid cases are up and rising. This year has… well, sucked for everyone. A topic that has been discussed rather frequently is the mental health of students and how they’ve been impacted this past year. I’ve had the opportunity to reach out to some students and the AMHS counseling team to get their input.
The event that has the most impact on mental health is the current pandemic – however, most students shared that the current state of the world has helped their mental health more so than affected it negatively. Lucas Rios (‘21) said, “Personally, this pandemic is a blessing in disguise for me. I’ve been able to train harder for soccer and also had more time to evaluate who I am as a person.” Students have also admitted to struggling with the pandemic.“Socially, it is very hard because you don’t get to see your friends and other people you care about. Emotionally, it is also hard because it’s a strange time – and honestly, you don’t know how you’re feeling,” said Maraki Zemeadim (‘22).
When asked about other events that have impacted the counselors and students, many report that current events around the world have, in fact, made an impact on their overall mental health. “Overall, the ongoing events in society have impacted my mental health. I’ve sometimes struggled to motivate myself to do my work with everything going on in the world,” said Anthony Ocana (‘23). On the other hand, some students have seen recent events in society as beneficial for their mental health. “The Black Lives Matter movement has made a big impact on my mental health – positively, actually! It has brought a variety of ideas and new ways that I can celebrate and appreciate other minorities, ” says Rios. Whether affected negatively or positively, what are students doing to improve their mental health? A very common thread is taking time for themselves. “I always tell myself that since we are currently amid an unprecedented global pandemic, there is no need to drastically improve myself. This way, I won’t feel pressured to do things for the sake of “not wasting my time,” and rather do things that make me happy and healthy” says alum Lilly Young (‘20). Though these times are trying, we will get through this “Kids are resilient, they know how to bounce back, ” says school counselor Allie Sinex.
Luckily for everyone, there are a lot of resources that help to improve one’s mental health. A big one is right on campus, our team of AMHS counselors! Even though we’re mostly virtual, the counselors are still here for you. Two out of three of our counselors are still available through email, and they’d be more than happy to arrange a Zoom call with you to talk about what’s on your mind and find a solution. Another great resource is apps! There are so many apps out there that help better your mindset – here are a few that the counselors recommend!
In addition to the counselors, friends, family, and trusted adults are also a great resource. Never be afraid to be open about how you’re feeling mentally and emotionally, as those health aspects are just as important as physical health. These are extremely hard times for everyone, and it can be hard to pay attention to how you’re feeling. These recommendations and resources are just a few ways to help take care and look after yourself. Stay positive and strong Wildcats!