Pandemic problems

How students’ mental health has been affected by isolation from the virus

For months, Indiana residents were forced to stay at home and only leave for essential reasons. School and work were immediately set to be done from home while sports and other activities were completely canceled. Most people only had interaction with their immediate family members.

“I went months without social interaction with other people other than my family,” sophomore Kham Thangngan said.

The social isolation from the pandemic has greatly affected students’ mental health, in both negative and positive ways.

School is a place where much social interaction takes place. People are able to see their friends and make new ones all in one building. When the pandemic first hit, students lost the ability to have that face-to-face interaction with others. Instead, school turned into students sitting at home and staring at a computer screen all day without having actual interaction with others in their classes.

“At the beginning of the pandemic when lock down was happening, it was really hard to just stay positive about it since you were really stuck at home,” senior Zachary Davis said.

Now, even though some students are back to in-person learning, it is still difficult to engage with others. All of the regulations that have been put into effect have not been conducive to a social environment. School counselor Patrick Clark thinks masks make it difficult to see people’s facial expressions which makes people not socialize.

“It’s almost like by default ‘leave them alone,’ at least that’s what I see in the hallways,” Clark said.

Sports and other after-school activities even had to be stopped for a while, but they also have strict regulations now. So, even though they are back in place, not all students are able to go and enjoy a game. The place where students could go cheer on their school while being with friends has prohibited much attendance.

“I just feel like so much has been taken away,” Clark said.

While most outcomes from the pandemic have been negative, there are some positive takeaways. In fact, some believe that it has actually helped people as well. Thangngan was able to focus on himself and notice what was good and bad for him. He also believes that it has had a positive effect on others his age.

“I’ve seen all of the kids around my age start to come together to find who they are and they just really inspired me,” Thangngan said.