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Staff Editorial: Moving Forward with Mental Health

With quarantine, social media, and school pressures at an all-time high, students are struggling to cope with their plummeting mental health. We are presented with a difficult decision of whether we should continue our lives normally or isolate ourselves from society in hopes of avoiding the virus. The lack of human interaction can incentivize us to turn to social media platforms as a form of communication; however, they do not show us the true reality of life. Further amplified by our stress, we are burdened with the demands of schoolwork and heightened grade expectations all the while adjusting to a new way of learning.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on students' mental health, causing more and more students to lack the necessary motivation, become dissatisfied, and struggle to learn new material. Staring at screens for over eight hours a day while having limited contact with the outside world has made us feel alone and secluded from our loved ones. The decline in hybrid class sizes has decreased our interest in classes because many of our friends may be online. On the other hand, many remote students have had difficulty learning from home and are stressed because they are being forced to choose between the safety of isolation and protection of their grades.

...educators must emphasize mental health over academics...

For many of us, school can be an escape from home. Some students are faced with difficult family situations and use the time spent at school as a way to destress about their home life. However, with the current circumstances attributed to the pandemic, many are not attending school in person. This leaves students at home for the majority of their day, which could result in them having to face difficult situations even while attending virtual classes. Tensions may be high because of this extremely long period of being in the same vicinity of the same people all the time. Students can take advantage of the power of music to cope with these issues or vent it out to their friends over a phone call. Bottling up emotions is never healthy, but also, there are resources available to assist you in these seemingly impossible times.

Although we know teachers have been working nonstop to ensure a great year for us all, an understanding of what students are going through is essential. People have lost relatives, friends, and loved ones from the pandemic, which is unimaginable for some. This, among many other reasons, is why educators must emphasize mental health over academics. At New Hyde Park Memorial, we believe people come first, not grades. We have noticed the guidance counselors’ efforts in implementing weekly emails to encourage and motivate students with quotes, but teachers should give students a moment to breathe in class. We know there is a time crunch because of tests such as AP exams in May and the Regents in June, but students need a minute to ground themselves in this wild, unpredictable, ever-changing world.

Source by Saanvi Mirchandani

Virtual platforms have become more popular since the start of the pandemic and many students feel stressed out with schoolwork and the rise of COVID-19 cases.

As we all know, virtual platforms have been exploding since the beginning of COVID-19, and students have been relying on these apps and programs for any possible social contact. Although social media has provided the ability to communicate virtually, it has also heavily influenced our self-worth and expectation of life. It poses unrealistic beauty standards on teenagers that many are unable to achieve. More often than not, posts made on different platforms only present positive aspects of life, leading many of us to believe that influencers are truly living the lives that we all desire.

Influencers subtly edit their content by adding filters and using Photoshop to become an artificial version of themselves for all of their followers to see. Constantly viewing such content creates a false reality, which leads us to set high, unachievable standards for ourselves. When we are unable to reach these standards and end up constantly feeling like failures compared to others, we start to view ourselves as less worthy and less valuable. An addiction to Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok is extremely real, and the results of these platforms are grave. Sometimes, a break from social media is very much needed, and as difficult as it is to remove that app, the better it may be in the long run.

“We must not forget about our emotional wellbeing...

Occasionally taking time to check up on one’s mental health is incredibly important and often overlooked by society. New York’s fast-paced lifestyle has taught us to value burnout and overworking instead of self-care, which can be detrimental to our livelihoods. Becoming infatuated with cellular devices and schoolwork, we forget to go outside and explore the world. We neglect exercise and basic self care, which is proven to release chemicals that enhance contentment towards life. It is of our utmost importance that we attempt to exercise regularly, get proper amounts of sleep, and have a stable diet. Although these actions seem to focus on physical health, they also coincide with mental health, so it is necessary to remember these factors every single day.

These restrictions, although frustrating, have positives as well. While the pandemic has canceled numerous activities, many people were given the opportunity to pursue new hobbies due to a surplus of free time. This allowed students to explore new hobbies and helped kids figure out what they would like to study in college or which career to pursue. We have been able allocate more of our free time into focusing on ourselves, which has been life-changing for many.

In this time more than ever, we must not forget about our emotional wellbeing. With a pandemic raging around us and massive shifts in our education, there is no doubt that all of these changes affect our mental health. Remember to take care of yourself and reach out to a friend, a parent, or a professional if you need any sort of help.

If you or a family member are experiencing mental health issues and need someone to reach out to, the Nassau County Mobile Crisis Team consists of licensed professional social workers and nurses. To access the Mobile Crisis Team call 227-TALK (227-8255).


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