As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its rampage throughout the state and much of the United States, mental health has taken many hits. As a result of the increased mental health problems, the Weber State Counseling and Psychological Services Center has been offering more mental health resources to students.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a spike in mental health problems, substance use and suicidal ideation occurred from June 24 to 30. The CDC reports that the deterioration of mental health is related to COVID-19’s impact on people.
COVID-19 has increased depression and anxiety in college students due to the lack of social interaction, financial pressure and an atmosphere of general worry.
Student’s lives have been disrupted in multiple ways, and the new normal is one that lacks personal touch and togetherness.
When the pandemic hit in early March, college students were asked to pack their belongings and move out of campus, if they were able to. Many of them lost their jobs and cut physical contact with their classmates and friends to isolate.
Humans are a social species, and we like contact and social interaction. The new class delivery methods make it harder for students to make friends and have social relationships.
Health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as sitting six feet apart and wearing a mask in the classroom and on campus, make associations with peers difficult.
Some students involuntarily have to stay away from elderly parents to avoid spreading the potentially-fatal virus. Not being able to see the people they love puts a strain on their emotional well-being.
Political events such as the massive protests that have been happening taking place around the country and hostility on social media are contributing factors.
College events that students look forward to are getting canceled or are being held virtually.
The Weber State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center offers a wide variety of services. At the moment, due to office construction, services are provided virtually.
Students can receive up to 12 therapy sessions per academic year from the Counseling Center free of cost. The center reassures individuals that their information will be kept confidential.
The Counseling Center offers various services to help students with behavioral, emotional and personality disorders. They also offer services for people who are coming out or defining their sexual identity.
Since the onset of the pandemic this year, the Counseling Center has also been helping students better deal with stresses that come alongside living during a time of a pandemic.
The center also provides Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), a self-enrolled, self-help and self-paced option. It allows students to access free online mental health educational modules to learn about anxiety and depression and change how students think and feel.
N. John-Evan Waite from the Utah Strong Recovery Project said that due to the rise of anxiety and stress related to the pandemic more people in general have been seeking psychological support.
The Counseling Center offers resources for students struggling with anxiety and trauma caused by wearing face masks. Counselors are trained to help students identify their emotions and teach them to deal with those emotions.
While COVID-19 affects people differently, it is causing more distress in younger adults, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers, according to the CDC’s website. The site states that these groups are experiencing a rise in substance use and upraised suicidal ideation.
On the Weber State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center’s website, students will find a link to a training module to get educated about suicide symptoms.