Mental health is a battle too

By Mia Randall, News Editor, The Eagle Eye

During distance learning, many have been struggling with their mental health, especially growing teenagers. Arguably, teenagers who already had a difficult high school life with a heavy workload have just been thrown into a state of isolation due to the closure of schools everywhere, which can lead to more stress and anxiety.

Being cooped up in a house all day while just looking at a single screen for hours on end is not what most high school students expected in the 2020-2021 school year.

On top of that, one could say that teenagers were already in isolation caused by the increasing use of—even addictions to—technology, but when it’s forced on them and they feel like they have to do it, especially for school, you’re going to get a completely different reaction. Parents who were already concerned about the amount of time their children spend on social media see their children spending at least four-and-a-half hours a day on their devices.

When everyone was first sent into quarantine, experts suggested that people not see their grandparents or older relatives, which included me. My grandparents only live about 30 minutes away and I usually see them once every few weeks. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but whenever I see them, I treasure it. 

When I was told that it wasn’t safe to see them, I completely broke down. I wasn’t able to hug them or be with them. This really hit deep in my heart and we all tried our best to keep in touch through Zoom, but it just wasn’t the same.

The choice to see them was taken away from me and I wish I had seen them more before it all happened.

Like most things, when we have the opportunity to do something and don’t take advantage of it, it doesn’t really affect us that much, but when that opportunity is taken away, we feel stripped of the right to do it. It can feel unfair and wrong. 

According to an ABC News report from May earlier this year, doctors and nurses at John Muir Medical Center reported there have been more suicide attempts than COVID-19 deaths in periods of quarantine throughout May of 2020. 

Though it may seem that quarantine is for the best, is it really worth it? Is it worth the pain? 

That may sound really deep and harsh, but it’s the truth. If students live in bad situations at home—abusive relationships or in neglect—and now they’re home all day, what does that entail? 

A study by University of Virginia School of Nursing found that students might be stuck in a dangerous quarantine.

“Victims are isolated with their abusers, with even fewer safe places to go. Work, school, community centers—those might have been sanctuaries under normal conditions, but now they don’t have those anymore.” 

Imagine for a moment how that would feel. 

Personally, I feel as if my mental health has been kind of up and down. There are times where I do enjoy distance learning and other times where I dislike it. I like spending time with my family, but I miss seeing my friends and teachers every day.

Many think that if students were to go back to school right now that COVID-19 would spike again and the whole situation would dramatically worsen. For some, this mindset makes school life even more stressful.

Overall, the mental health scale for teens seems to be at an all-time low right now. Without consistent social interactions, which is a primary part of highschool, most teens feel like they can’t escape the loneliness of quarantine. 

Sports are a big part of high school for lots of students and not having that outlet to get out of the house and exercise can be extremely mentally draining. Some kids, not having a great home life, participate in sports to get out and be alone for a while, so having that option at school is very important. 

Rallies and dances make high school life more interesting and fun, and it lets students escape their own minds and forget about that test or essay they have due next week. It’s easy to say that these events are really crucial for some kids.

Having good grades and learning something new every day takes a big role in mental health. If students don’t participate in sports or enjoy dances and rallies, they can have academic aspirations and feel a sense of accomplishment in their lives through live interaction with their teachers and a sense of pride and acknowledgment when they succeed in the classroom. 

Without these outlets to clear your mind, what can teens look to? Drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and feel every bit of happiness they can in these difficult times. This is not only the case for adults but for many teens as well.

The mind of a teenager is still growing and clouding it with these harmful chemicals may mess with growth, physically and mentally. I have seen this in students—people I know.  

Everyone wants different things, but how can the school district manage to keep everyone happy and safe? Not everyone will be pleased when it comes down to it. 

The solution to this madness will and can not be a one-size-fits-all-miracle hybrid schedule that every single student and parent agrees with. It’s just not going to happen and I think that we have to accept that, that nothing will be perfect in the end. We get what we get and we adapt to what is thrown at us.

Regarding the mental well-being of the students, I don’t think the district, county and state have taken this into account and really looked at the importance of our mental health.

I imagine every staff member is just as confused as the students and families are, we need to work together, and keep a positive mindset.

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