COVID-19 and Its Impact on Student Mental Health: A Positive Perspective
By Sriya Sai Pushpa Datla
Even though the pandemic situation we are in now is mostly viewed negatively, some high school students are finding the positives of COVID-19. For example, let’s see what this rising freshman from El Camino Real Charter high school is doing on a Wednesday evening.
She is outside and running in her neighborhood, her heart beating even faster, as she finishes each mile. She is trying hard to motivate herself to finish that third mile before she stops for breath.
Despite COVID-19 negatively impacting many students, this rising freshman is still trying hard to not let it stop her from her summer Cross Country training. In fact, she is even more motivated to continue. There are many students who are viewing this global pandemic positively and using it to improve their mental health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes “emotional, psychological and social well-being.” Mental health helps determine how we make choices and handle stress overall.
Students are still developing a sense of what their daily schedules will look like once distance-learning starts. As students are learning how to cope with this unexpected situation, they are also learning how to maintain their mental health and manage their routines.
Thoughts about this pandemic can vary due to each student’s mentality, age, and grade level. Economic disparities also play a huge role in each person’s experience of the pandemic. Those who have lost their sources of income or who cannot afford to social distance are far less likely to have positive experiences at this time. Some troubling thoughts that common students could have are: “Can I survive distance learning? Will I learn the same amount in online school as I would have in the classroom?”
The answer to these questions will be discovered after a couple of online lectures and activities in the upcoming school year.
Meanwhile, during quarantine, I believe that COVID-19 has positive effects on my mental health. Both my family and I have noticed improvements in communication and are supporting each other through these unexpected times.
In terms of emotional health, I see that my family is learning how to deal with strong emotions and how to help each other through difficult times.
Relating to others is another important aspect of mental health and we are connecting with others more than ever. Everyone is trying their hardest to get through this pandemic. Through common hobbies, we are having similar thoughts as we fight through these times together.
Some of you may think that COVID-19 has affected students’ mental health entirely negatively, but there are still some positives. For example, one elementary student, Arohi (who declined to share her last name due to privacy concerns) said that she is interacting more with her family and finding more time for new interests. Recently, she started playing the piano.
“Due to quarantine, I decided to pick up a new hobby. I have always wanted to play the piano, ever since I saw one of my friends play it. Normally, I would have focused all my attention on soccer, but due to quarantine, I am so glad I started playing the piano. I really love it!” Arohi said.
Studies show that playing the piano or any other instrument not only improves mental health but allows them to experience less anxiety, loneliness and depression.
Such activities and development of new hobbies are positively impacting students’ mental health, as children and young adults are starting to find new interests.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a shared experience. We have learned how to manage our emotions and balance them with other things going on in our lives. Even though it is definitely not the best and only way to learn things like this, for some of us this pandemic experience has been a positive one!