ASK Scholars Struggle with Mental Health During Quarantine

November 12, 2020

News

Photo by Jade Brumfield // Scholars have experienced an increase in mental health issues since the quarantine began.

By Peyton Perez

Scholars  have different opinions about the isolation that has been caused by COVID-19. One thing that students can agree upon, is that their mental health and everyday lives have been severely changed and affected. 

An anonymous survey conducted by Kylee Shurter, a counselor at The ASK Academy, showed that scholars at The ASK Academy have felt an increase in stress, feelings of depression, and the need to see a counselor or therapist. 

In the survey, there was a question comparing the scholar’s mental health before quarantine to their mental health currently. This question used a 1-10 scale with 1 being that they are/were mentally unhealthy, suicidal, or unable to function and cope and 10 being that they are/were very mentally healthy. When talking about their mental health before quarantine, 97 out of the 117 participants said that their mental health was above a 5 or above moderate. There was a significant drop when talking about their mental health currently with only 71 scholars saying that their mental health was above a 5. 

“Everybody is taking kind of like an emotional, mental hit from this,” Shurter says. She also mentions that even though there has been a growth in scholars who feel the need for therapy or counseling, there’s been a decrease in the amount of scholars reaching out for help from the school.

According to Shurter, this school year 8-10 scholars reach out for help from a school counselor a month. This is a huge decrease compared to the 10-15 scholars who would reach out to the counselors daily when doing school in person. “There were days at school where my office door should have been a revolving door,” Shurter said. 

To accommodate this decrease, she tries to reach out to the scholars whose teachers and peers say that they have been showing some signs of concern, however she doesn’t usually get the responses she hopes for, typically earning the responses “I’m fine” and “everything is good now.” 

Although Shurter dislikes how disconnected she feels, she understands the decrease in meetings stating that it is difficult to keep scholar confidentiality while meeting over the internet and that “everyone is just so burned out.”  She said she also has a raised level of concern nbecause scholars have been saying that their stress levels have gone up due to the school schedule. 

Shurter says that there has always been an issue with scholars at The ASK Academy feeling overworked but that this year scholars feel even more overworked, as well as more overwhelmed. The school schedule this year has been stressful for most scholars. Even though they are doing the same thing that they were doing last year, but in an online format, scholars feel like they are working even harder than they were last school year and it is causing a much larger mental and emotional toll. 

One scholar who can agree that school has taken a toll on her mental health is Kylie Gutierrez-Jones, a junior at The ASK Academy. Gutierrez-Jones states that her biggest challenges during quarantine are school and procrastination. “Sitting at a computer from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. is really draining and I feel like I just sat wasting my entire day sitting in front of a computer,” Gutierrez-Jones says. She also states that she has trouble with procrastinating and lacksing motivation. She says that it has been stressful adjusting to the new school schedule as well as turning all of her assignments in on time. She also says that she is in a much different headspace than she is normally which makes it much easier to procrastinate. 

Gutierrez-Jones’ school life isn’t the only aspect of her life that has been affected due to quarantine. She has found it much easier to procrastinate not only on school work but also with personal hobbies and projects. She has also lost touch with some of her friends since it isn’t very often that she gets to see people. She said her social life has been significantly affected during this time since she typically likes to go out and do things with her friends on weekends which is now limited and only happens on occasion. Gutierrez-Jones is also a dancer and up until recently all of her dance classes were online which is also out of the ordinary. Overall, Gutierrez-Jones feels like she can’t do as much as she used to. 

A scholar who has had a quite different experience with the quarantine situation is freshman Hailey Kim. This is Kim’s first year at ASK. Rather than Kim’s mental health being affected because of school, she has mostly been struggling due to the limitation of events and rarely being able to do things outside of her home. She said that one of her biggest struggles is making friends since she just started attending a new school and the school format is different.  She said she also spends a lot of time on the computer which will strain her eyes and occasionally make her dizzy. 

Kim has also had to sacrifice her social activity due to quarantine. “The friends that I’m not really close with, we lost contact.” She has also ended up missing out on joining a sports team at The ASK Academy which she was looking forward to doing. 

Kim said there have been some good things to come out of quarantine. She says that the school work “is a lot more loose and easier” and that it’s somewhat nice to no longer feel overwhelmed about the social aspect of school. 

Students can say that this time has been really mentally and emotionally draining for them for various reasons. The stress of a new school schedule, wondering if this is how life is going to be, losing social connections, and anything else can cause mental health to be negatively impacted even if the individual is trying to avoid it.

If you are struggling with your mental health or are having thoughts of suicide, you should reach out for help. You are not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Kylee Shurter’s Email: kshuter@theaskacademy.org

April Marquez’s Email: amarquez@theaskacademy.org

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