Letter: Students’ mental health has been affected by COVID-19

The Student Health and Counseling Center provides students with services like counseling, medical and wellness services. (Larry Valenzuela/ The Collegian)

Written by Fresno State communication student Nathalie Gutierrez

At the start of Spring 2020, I recall feeling nervous yet excited and hopeful starting my internship for Communication 179I as a tutor at Reedley College. Everything was going smoothly, and my classmates and fellow tutors were all going with the flow of our academics, work and general way of life. 

Until we had gotten the news of this mysterious and threatening virus, at first, I shrugged it off. I wasn’t worried about it, and neither were the people around me. The virus seemed to affect a faraway part of our world. No way was it going to come here. A lot of us just saw it as something that will pass over and be gone like a flicker of a light-switch. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When I sat in class, I heard so many whispers. No matter where I turned and looked, everyone was talking about COVID-19. 

“Isn’t it just like the flu, but stronger,” was the common question and comment I heard. Nobody seemed to know what it was or what to do. Our teachers had announced that things had changed, and the possibility of doing a complete transition to online had become our reality. 

Fear, panic and misinformation had taken over, and the nation seemed to regress to the idea that it’s every man for themselves. People had fought over toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer and left absolutely nothing for anyone else. These types of actions created issues and have worsened our situation. I was reminded every day by the media (and I still am) of the amount of lives lost and affected by the virus and the chaos and misfortune. 

As students, we endure incredible amounts of stress and anxiety, but with the presence of COVID-19, that has certainly peaked. Many students have lost their jobs and have gone through unexpected and traumatic changes due to COVID-19. 

Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 has caused an increase in loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression. One in 10 young people (ages 16-25) reportedly lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Young workers are more likely to lose their jobs, though it should be noted that women, the self-employed and those who come from an impoverished background are negatively impacted as well. 

A survey was conducted to illustrate such effects from a public university within the United States. The survey showed that most student participants experienced difficulties in their academics based on concentration, performance, negative dietary patterns and sleep disruptions. Almost half of the students had depressive thoughts due to increased loneliness from the pandemic, insecurities and uncertainties, powerlessness and lack of hope. 

Many students have even stated that their workload has grown. They face financial difficulties, which is why it’s imperative that students utilize the resources available to them during this crisis. 

If you know someone who is struggling or needs assistance, please be kind and lend them a helping hand. We are all going through difficult times, and we need to help one another out. 

Here is what you can do and where you can seek guidance, just click on the links below. Or call 559.278.2734 to get in touch with the Student Health and Counseling Center. 

Fresno State Student Resources 

Student Health and Counseling Center

6 Tips to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

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