How Are You?: Students’ Mental Health This Year

By Benjamin Kimberling

Coming out of quarantine, starting school distanced, and then going back to school has been a rough transition for teachers and students alike. On the Trojan Torch Instagram story, I asked students if the current conditions were affecting them mentally. 

One student says, “I’m not as get up and go as I used to be.” 

Another student says,“[it has] Definitely made my focusing/attention problems worse, along with anxiety.” 

Another student states, “My depression has gotten pretty bad, and has started to affect how I take care of myself due to the quarantine.” 

I spoke to Paula Lau, Jenks high school guidance couselor, to get her insight on mental health surrounding students and teachers, and resources that are available.

Mrs. Lau, counselor here at Jenks High School

“We cannot conduct counseling sessions over zoom meetings, under school policy.” says Lau. “Also, there’s a concern just that in some way shape or form that conversation that’s supposed to be private in between the counselor and the student can somehow be recorded, and maybe posted.”

However, you can still meet with Mrs. Lau in person if you are feeling anxious, depressed, or just need to talk. 

“I’ve seen several students this year, who have had what we would call panic attacks. You know, hyperventilation, just crying uncontrollably, not being able to sit still” Lau states. “For some kids that happens when they sit down in a particular class where I’ve been quarantined for the past 2 weeks, and now here I am back in class, I’m not understanding the material.’ and they just have a great sense of anxiety around that.”

Mrs. Lau’s best advice if you have fallen behind in your classes due to quarantine and being distanced is to contact your teacher. Let your teachers know what’s going on, and what you need to catch up on.

“I would encourage them (students) in one way of knowing that we are all in the same boat. Teachers and students alike are really struggling hard to make this year work.” says Lau. “I have to use the word Tsunami, of anxiety related issues going in the world right now that I don’t think there’s a single human being who is escaping anxiety right now.“

Mrs. Lau also provided some online resources to help with things like anxiety for students that may be at home currently:

Hidden Signs of Teen Anxiety

5 Ways to Prevent Teen Panic Attacks

Why Deep Breathing Makes You Feel So Chill

Some excellent apps to use:  Calm, Breathe2Relax, HeadSpace”

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