COVID-19 Affecting College Students Mental Health

The restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced college students across the country to learn to adjust to a new way of education this semester. With sudden change comes mental health effects. Depression, anxiety, and stress are feelings all too familiar to many college students and implications caused by the pandemic have many struggling more than normal.

Kent State student, Madison Croce, has been struggling with stress and anxiety since she started college-level courses. “I have had six anxiety attacks in the past five days. Well, I had six within the course of five days, which is not normal for me. It is very, very stressful this semester,” Croce said. The feelings of stress and anxiety are no stranger to college students, many have experiences similar to Croce.

“We all respond differently in different stressful situations, but I think college students and really just people in general, you know, are experiencing an increase in mental health distress,” Dr. Mark Onusko, Director of John Carroll University Counseling Center said.

Just because someone feels like they are drowning, that does not always mean they will reach out for help. Across northeast Ohio, different universities are trying to support students.

“We’re doing a lot. Not only in having four counseling interns, including myself. So, it’s five therapists working on our campus. We’re also doing a lot of social media blitzes. We’re doing yoga and a green every week,” Dr. Kevin Fesithamel, Director of Counseling at Hiram College said.

At John Carroll University, the counseling center hosts a drop-in hour: Let’s Talk. “We are a drop-in hour so we would do a drop-in consultation with a therapist, if a student wanted, it was outside of the counseling center office, no appointment, no paperwork. You can pop in for 10 minutes or half hour, whatever you needed. So, we’re continuing that virtually a few days a week now,” Dr. Onusko said.

For many, the process of adjusting to this semester has been hard.

“It has been a long process, learning how to juggle classes online and a job has it’s been a learning experience,” Croce said.

Professionals want to remind students, this too shall pass.

“We can be all the stronger from it. And so just really having faith in ourselves that we can be resilient,” Dr. Onusko said.

If you are struggling or experiencing symptoms of stress and anxiety, please reach out to your university’s mental health counseling center. If you need immediate assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.