Letter to the Editor | COVID-19 restrictions breed mental health issues

Letter+to+the+Editor+%7C+COVID-19+restrictions+breed+mental+health+issues

By Ellen Elghammer

College students, while mostly spared of the more serious health risks of COVID-19, might be most at risk for mental health issues.

It is no secret that getting mental health services at a college or university can be difficult. Many anecdotal stories tell of students calling the health center needing help with a mental health issue, only to be told there is no room in the schedule. COVID-19 has especially been a burden on college students as they were asked to put most, if not all, of their lives on hold.

In a study done by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, 71% of students reported an increase in stress and anxiety due to COVID-19. They also reported negative impacts on their sleep patterns, concentration and social life. The University has done a commendable job of keeping students physically safe from the effects of COVID-19 with innovative testing procedures but has not kept up with the mental health demands.

The Welltrack App is a good start, but the counseling center should expand their outreach to target more students and streamline the process of accessing services provided by professional therapists. Options include finding providers in Champaign county who are in network for the school’s insurance plan and linking them to students, launching COVID-19 specific mental health wellness campaigns and offering free mental health screenings to all students.

Mental health issues are as serious as physical health conditions and require early intervention to achieve the best outcomes.

 

Ellen is a senior in Social Work.

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