By Sarah GONNORD, EEB4 S6 ENA
Mental health was, and in some cases still is, a subject considered “taboo” in the world. And yet, in the face of COVID-19 and the events of this year, it’s something that needs to be brought up more often; starting with schools.
Adolescence is a time full of changes and a period where many are affected by mental health. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), “half of mental illnesses start at the age of 14 and the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds is suicidei“. Adolescence is also a stage of life where social interaction is highly important.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, students’ mental health in the field of education has been an increasing concern. From decreased social interactions and increased time in front of screens due to online school, to fears about catching the virus, and increasing worries about the future, many research reports have shown that COVID-19 has negatively impacted the mental health of students.
For example, a study by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information; located in the United States) reported that, out of the 195 college students who participated in the experiment 71% indicated a general increase in stress and anxiety levels due to COVID-19. 91% reported feeling the negative impact of COVID 19. 86% reported irregular sleep and 89% reported difficulty in concentration along with academic and everyday difficulties. Finally, 82% expressed concern for their academic performanceii.
What can communities do when faced with this issue?
Talk about it and address it.
To cope with stress and anxiety, it’s important to have support from others, such as friends or loved ones, and to develop a support network. Addressing mental health is also crucial.
As highlighted by the WHOiii, “Mental Health day may be on the 10th of October, but it is always a relevant and highly important topic that needs to be addressed more in communities in order to raise awareness around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.”
I hope that this encourages people to see the importance of mental health and remember that these times will pass. As said by Benjamin Franklin: “Look before, or you’ll find yourself behindiv.”
Sources: Featured image: https://oecd-development-matters.org/2020/08/04/mental-health-and-covid-19-in-developing-countries/ https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2018/10/10/default-calendar/world-mental-health-day-2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473764/ https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day#:~:text=World%20Mental%20Health%20Day&text=World%20Mental%20Health%20Day%20is,in%20support%20of%20mental%20health Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1735, page 11: https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2010/11/07/0040/Poor_Richard%27s_Almanack_by_Franklin_Benjamin.pdf