Lockdown vs Student's Mental Health
LOCKDOWN vs STUDENT’S MENTAL HEALTH
The good mental health of a student is very necessary throughout the world since the entire performance depends on it. Disturbances in mental health not only hurt the particular student but also have serious negative impacts on the community, as today’s 32 crore students are the future of our country India contributing to its development by serving various roles like teachers, engineers, doctors, nurses, etc. Hence, the mental health of the students has to be given at most importance.
To date, there is no significant scientifically proven treatment to deal with novel coronavirus disease in the market that could control the spread of the virus, though the field of scientists are working hard and we might get some good news in near future, the normalcy of days remain unanswered. As the number of cases was increasing by each day, the lockdown was the only option available to slow down the rate of spreading the infection. In this process, all the educational institutes were also locked down all of sudden. The students were in different phases of their academic year like some are about to complete the academic year, some are about to write their entrance examinations and some were writing their examinations.
Sudden change in a pattern made difficult times for all of us when we heard about the spread of COVID-19 from all over the world, through television, social media, newspapers, family and friends, and other sources and the immediate need to shut down everything very sudden. The most common emotion faced by most was fear. It made us anxious, panicky, and can even possibly make people think, say, or do things that they might not consider appropriate under normal circumstances.
Although some institutes as per the guidelines issued by UGC, promoted the student based on previous performance, some still took the online examination and added extra from the normal days to evaluate students’ performance and promote them to the next level, causing them significant distress, anxiety, irritability, and a decrease in mood along with work performance.
According to an online survey conducted by SPIF ((Suicide Prevention India Foundation) across the country, suicide ideation, self-harm, and relapses have all risen. Findings also showed that :
• Self-harm, suicide ideation/death wish increases: Nearly 65% (28.9% said yes and 35.8% responded with maybe) of the therapists have observed an increase in people who have self-harmed. A whopping 71% (28.9% said yes and 42.1% maybe) of therapists said that more people have expressed suicidal ideation or a death wish to them post the outbreak.
• Increased rates of relapse: Nearly 6 out of 10 therapists (57.9%) who took the survey said that individuals who had previously recovered or were making a recovery, have now relapsed.
• More people seeking therapy: 68.6% of the therapists reported an increase in the number of people they see and in the hours, they spend taking therapy after the pandemic hit
• First-time therapy seekers rise: 54.7% of therapists said that the number of people they see who’s never sought therapy before have risen since the outbreak of the pandemic
• Common problems: Anxiety (88.7%), job loss or fear of job loss (76.1%) and stress 73.6%), isolation/loneliness and financial insecurity (73% each) top the list of common problems faced by people as reported by therapists.
Many factors played a major role in contributing to the present living conditions. While some of the students found it easier, others have found it harder to cope up with. Depending on the age and the academic year the student is in, and their understanding of the situation, the type of defense/coping mechanism differed from one another. For example, a pre-school student might be affected by the lack of physical activity and social interaction with a peer circle, while high school students might stress upon the career opportunity and college students on how to financially support the family ahead of university. Understanding the environment of the place they are living is also important, an abusive and troublesome family environment can have a significant effect on child health (social, emotional, physical, and psychological). Staying away from home for a few hours and living with friends and enjoying the small portion of life was no longer an option available. While some students who have had suffered from homesickness felt much better staying with family. The change in teaching pedagogy has come up with entirely different challenges. Taking online classes is not everyone's cup of tea. While some students who like to have classroom and interactive face-to-face conversations are lacking behind, and other students who have had social anxiety and are introverts and traveling to campus daily was a big challenge are enjoying it now. While some students easily adapted to the new teaching methods, some of them struggled with internet connectivity in their areas and some didn't have the systems they could take a class upon (not everyone has excess to pc/laptops). This leads the students to show signs of disinterest or loss of motivation, burnout, and them being worried about their academic performance.
To deal with the present state of condition, every educational institution must establish a mental health cell to deal with the issues. Regular online counseling can be planned along with the online classes. It is equally important to counsel the parents along with the students. Regular monitoring of the stress levels using the online tools can be done to prevent the student to enter into a state of depression. Simultaneously the teachers should also be counseled in handling the students during the online classes. Since this is not just a one-way process, all of us must ensure that we must play our part appropriately. Even if we aren’t able to help others to deal with the problems, we must make sure not to disturb anyone’s mental peace by being a disturbing element, or pressurizing them beyond their actual limit. Students can make certain changes in their lifestyle by adding daily affirmations for staying positive, adapting to yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques. A daily reminder for a physical workout should be added to the timetable, spending some valuable time with family members must be encouraged, exploring out each other interest areas. Following proper self-care and hygiene is important especially keeping in mind the current situation we are living in.