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Mental Health During a Pandemic

By Chaundra Furin-Campbell (281)

When students first heard that they would be released from school because of COVID-19, many were excited. They thought that they would get a couple of weeks off and then things would go back to normal. However, as the pandemic has dragged on, it has proven to be challenging for students, teachers, and parents in a variety of ways. Losing loved ones, getting sick, being stuck inside, and adjusting to virtual learning are just a few of the problems that have arisen. Because of this, many students have been struggling with their mental health, but there are a few ways that they can get support. 

At Central in particular, counselor Dr. Soda has noticed many students “struggling with a lack of motivation to engage in their classes.” While there have always been students battling mental health, Dr. Soda believes that overall mental health at Central was better before the pandemic. “I have definitely seen a spike in mental health concerns related to virtual learning, personal and family health concerns, and food and job insecurities,” she stated. Cases of depression and anxiety have increased. The need to quarantine has also led to isolation, making it more difficult for students to deal with these things. 

While this is an incredibly difficult time, many things can help. Dr. Soda recommends a healthy diet and sleep schedule, physical activity, gratitude and positivity, and rewarding yourself for small things. Meditation and listening to music can also prove quite helpful. Additionally, maintaining connections is important. Turning on cameras during class makes things easier for teachers and students, and can create a sense of community. It is also important to spend time with friends and family through online systems. 

Many people may be dealing with grief and loss in addition to these other issues. During times like these, it is important to know that many people are willing to help. If you are struggling with mental health, feel free to email your counselor using the list below. Teenagers have lived through many challenging events throughout history, and can survive this as well. 

Grades 10, 11, 12:

A to F- Ms. Coutts

kcoutts@philasd.org

G to L- Ms. Chasan

erchasan@philasd.org

M to R- Mrs. Marrow

jtejada@philasd.org

S to Z- Mrs. Wardlaw

hwardlaw@philasd.org

Grade 9 and all IB students- Dr. Soda

csoda@philasd.org

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