The student news site of Downers Grove South High School

COVID-19 inspires mental health awareness

October 23, 2021

It has been over a year and a half since the pandemic started and society has hyper-fixated on the negatives that were brought with COVID-19. While it is impossible to deny that there were detrimental effects from the virus, it is necessary to understand that there have been positives to come from the curve ball that was COVID.

Students engage in the socialization that was lost during the last year. (Kassem Ossman)

Junior Delaney Turner spoke about how she became aware of her mental health during quarantine.

“I became aware of what I needed, I realized that I am not the best person online and I have to be in-person, so I figured out techniques that I could use to better [myself]. I focused on keeping myself organized and [staying] on top of things even if I didn’t succeed; I was able to focus on myself more than I usually do,” Turner said.

Throughout quarantine, many started focusing more on bettering themselves which included their mental health. COVID affected everyone differently, but most had some change in their mental health and most were able to make that change positive. PE teacher Stephanie Henrikson talked about how COVID brought mental health into the conversation.

“I think [students] are much more cognizant of it now than perhaps before because the pandemic has affected all of us whereas maybe if a student never really had or acknowledged mental health struggles prior. I think everyone realizes that we all go through tough times and this is a tough time that many of us have gone through together and have similarities with experiences that we can relate to over COVID-19, and I think it’s more on our radar than it has ever been before,” Henrikson said.

Henrikson also discussed resources that can further help students with mental health issues.

We can create a bit of space in learning about how to tend to our mental and emotional needs”

— Stephanie Henrikson

“Learning about mindfulness is a huge component when dealing with stress and focusing on mental health. Students get a dose of that in the beginning of their health classes and we focus on it quite a bit in stress management [class], and I think learning how to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings helps us to separate from,” Henrikson said.

It is so easy to magnify the negatives of the pandemic and push the positives aside. It is time a light is shined on the increased awareness of mental health as a result of the pandemic.

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