The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the whirlwind that 2020 was, affected our society in many ways. We are having to socially distance, wear masks and constantly wash and sanitize our hands. But it has also impacted us in ways that aren’t physical and now there is a new pandemic that our society needs to tackle. The mental health pandemic.
Even though we might not think about the impact of the pandemic on our mental health at the beginning of the pandemic, we have to face it sooner or later and it needs to be sooner. One example of the pandemic affecting our mental health is social distancing, which has put our brains into the mindset of isolating ourselves and emotionally distancing ourselves from those around us. This is something that we need to treat and bring awareness to.
Not only did the pandemic cause society to become distanced, it also caused many people to become burned out. Some students have little to no motivation to do their schoolwork and some adults have little motivation to go to work. We’re all noticing and feeling like this, yet no one is addressing it.
It’s almost as if we don’t want to come to terms with how traumatic this experience has been and how much the pandemic has taken a toll on our minds. But it’s something that we need to talk about and treat.
One way that we can treat this mental health pandemic is by going to therapy. Although therapy may seem like it is only for people who have gone through crises, it’s not. Therapy is for everyone. According to psychreg.org, therapy helps us develop new coping mechanisms, enhances deductive reasoning, provides an opportunity for experimentation, provides meaningful insight into life, helps us explore our minds and provides room for self-development. There are many benefits to going to therapy and we should take advantage of this opportunity because we are all going through this collective crisis.
We, as a staff, have noticed that there is a small number of counselors at Amarillo College. During this time period, we think that it would benefit everyone to have more counselors on campus. That way more people can book more appointments and take care of their mental health. This change does not have to be permanent, just temporary in order to help the mental health pandemic now.
We also believe that AC students and employees should receive more free sessions during this pandemic. Students are only receiving 10 free sessions while employees are only receiving three. Many people have lost their jobs during this time and some may not be able to afford therapy once their free sessions are used.
Although we are all emotionally exhausted from this traumatic experience, we need to keep pushing forward. The first step is acknowledging the mental health pandemic and then we can all band together to figure out a cure. In the meantime, the CDC has information on coping during a pandemic and tips for maintaining good mental health on their website that can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html.