Mental Health In Decline


From social distancing to Zoom fatigue, mental health issues among many high schoolers have escalated during the pandemic.

Results from a recent survey of 50 University Prep high school students show that loss of motivation is a growing feeling among students. In the survey, 28% of students expressed that they have lost a moderate amount of interest in activities that previously brought them joy.

Sophomore Max Rubenstein feels that the pandemic has caused his mental and emotional health to decline. 

“During the pandemic, my mental health has felt a lot more shaky and I have felt way less motivated to complete my typical daily tasks,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein feels that staying productive throughout the pandemic is quite difficult as he is constantly having to adapt to the various changes of online school.        

“I’d say lack of structure has caused me a lot of stress because I really like to have a built-in routine with things to do,” Rubenstein said.

School counselor Andrea Moore agrees that it is important to have structure and create a routine.

“This structure or routine can be around your homework, sleep schedule or household tasks,” Moore said. “Regular sleep and exercise schedules are also beneficial, as these factors help to regulate mood.”

Fine arts teacher Ty Talbot sympathizes with students about the difficulty of socializing during the pandemic.

“When you are a teenager, you are supposed to be out in the world starting to figure out how you are distinct from your family and your school. Your friends are one of the most important relationships, and young people should be together in the same space,” Talbot said. 

Senior Grace Capossela misses the social interactions she has during in-person school and feels that being isolated at home has limited her opportunity to personally grow. 

“I am stuck with my family in a time when I am really supposed to be out becoming my own person,” Capossela said.

Socializing and talking with friends is much more difficult for students when school is online. According to the survey, 46% of students say that they miss socialization, but it is bearable. 

Even though senior Rohan Raman feels the absence of seeing his friends, he has found ways to cope with this lack of in-person socialization.

“There are a couple of friends I talk to regularly, whether it is FaceTime or text. I try to communicate with people because I think that helps,” Raman said.

Additionally, 36% of students in the survey say they are more emotional, stressed or sad because of the pandemic. 

Students feel they are more anxious due to the pandemic. The survey shows that 38% of the students recently feel that their emotions are controlling them rather than the other way around. 

“Feeling anxious, sad and isolated are normal reactions to the change in routine since the start of the pandemic,” Moore said. “All of this can be overwhelming and can have a significant impact on mood and well-being.”

According to the survey, 30% of students have felt down more than fifteen times within the last month. Moore realizes that it is difficult to remember that there are joyful and positive things in our lives.

“Make a list of people and things that make you feel good. This can be a favorite song, going for a walk, talking with a certain friend,” Moore said. “Sometimes we also just need to feel our feelings and let ourselves experience our tough day.”