COVID-19 impacts the mental health of those around us

Zoe Kirchoffer-Talbott

More stories from Zoe Kirchoffer-Talbott

Right now, there is a pandemic going on, stretching to every corner of the world. We have all been affected by it someway or another, if it’s not being able to attend events, not seeing friends or maybe even getting exposed to COVID-19, but one thing that should be in the spotlight right now is mental health. There is a mental health crisis going on in the world and it needs more attention. 

In a tracking poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in mid-July 2020, 53 percent of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19. Another report done in September 2020 by The Journal of the American Medical Association found that symptoms of depression have become three times more prevalent in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There has also been a 34 percent increase in anxiety medication purchases and an 18 percent increase in antidepressant medication purchases between mid-February and mid-March 2020. 

After examining all this data, it is very clear that there is indeed an on-going mental health crisis. This makes perfect sense when you consider what the pandemic has done; many people have been locked in their homes, unemployed due to the pandemic and worried about family, friends and even themselves.

Now, more than ever, may be a time to turn to a professional to get some mental help.

Nicci Ramsey is a licensed mental health therapist. She always knew she wanted to pursue this career since she was in kindergarten. Before therapy, she was considering being either a counselor, teacher or lawyer, because those professions allow her to help others, something she enjoys.

She said COVID-19, in a way, has increased the number of patients and appointments she takes on. While it hasn’t necessarily increased the work on her schedule, the new influx of patients creates a very long waitlist. Rising stress levels and trauma has led people to consider asking for help, because all the uncertainty has had a huge impact on people’s lives.

She even discussed the impact on herself in the role of supporting others. 

“Personally, for me, it’s stressful because I really love my job and I really love the work that I do and the way I get to engage with people and so it’s very hard for me to say no and know I can’t help everyone right now,” Ramsey said. “I know I could do it but my own health and mental health has to be a priority or else I won’t be able to show up for my current patients. That boundary is such a fine line.”

Grant High School freshman Pablo Navarro struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which he was diagnosed with in December 2020. This can make it hard to focus in class, especially online. 

“It is harder when I don’t have the reinforcement of a teacher being there. I get off task more,” Navarro said. “Earlier in the year I would do online class in my garage and I would walk around my garage instead of paying attention in class.”

Navarro said he has the most problems in inquiry. He works on writing and reading in the class.

He added that it helps him when he uses ADHD medication. His parents and tutor help him with his assignments by either keeping track of what he needs to complete or helping him better his understanding on the subjects. His teachers give him extra time to turn assignments in and his jazz lab teacher volunteered to do a separate Zoom meeting to work on stuff in class with just him. He feels like all this support helps him work better. 

Everybody deserves this kind of support but not everybody gets it. Right now one of the most important things is getting support or any kind of help you can get. The effects of this pandemic leaves nobody out, everybody has been impacted by COVID-19 to some degree. When thinking about health, it seems as though physical health comes before mental health, whereas both are equal.