COVID-19 and Students’ Mental Health

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COVID-19 and Students’ Mental Health

With how the COVID-19 outbreak is panning out, the psychological issues which come with it have rapidly intensified its public health burden. Emerging research assessing the mental health implications of COVID-19 have identified an increased rate of moderate-to-severe depressive and anxious symptoms among the general public. These widespread outbreaks are linked with adverse mental health consequences.

For university students, increased levels of psychological distress and negative academic consequences are prevalent even before the COVID-19. Then, as a result of social distancing measures implemented in response to COVID-19, higher education institutions have shifted to an emergency online learning format. As can be expected, this worsened the academic stressors for many students.

There are already a number of studies which have explored the impact of COVID-19 on student education and well-being. One study reported that approximately 25% of their sample reported experiencing anxiety symptoms, which were positively correlated with increased concerns about academic delays, economic effects of the pandemic, and impacts on daily life. Additionally, it can be said that while the economic effects of the pandemic causes a number of challenges for both domestic and international students, the complications might be more severe for international students due to visa conditions and other limitations that come with being an international student.

What can be done and how can we remain positive, hopeful and emotionally healthy while we observe the pandemic situation to evolve and our academic and social life get back into a normal state again? The quote below extracted from an article published on Beyond Blue website provides a valuable suggestion:

Regular physical activity is a good way to help prevent or manage mild anxiety and depression. Keeping active can help you stay physically fit and mentally healthy, which is particularly important as people deal with the effects of COVID-19. – Beyond Blue

As noted in another article published by Skills Academia early January 2021, working on personal and professional development and focusing on your purpose and the bigger picture may also boost mood, creativity, and optimism during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can identify some areas of improvement in your soft or hard skills, and while observing the unfolding of this pandemic and taking all the health and safety measures into consideration, get yourself into some micro-skills short courses or online training and up-skilling opportunities to shift your focus from negative side-effects of this pandemic, to something more positive, meaningful, and valuable. Here are a few recommendations in relation to some micro-skills and training opportunities that we offer at Skills Academia, or you may wish to consider at other coaching, training and educational institutions:

  • Presentation Skills (Corporate, Academic and Non-academic) .
  • Portfolio Development (Professional Brand, Resume, Online Profile).
  • Small Business / Entrepreneur Planning
  • Stress Management, Anger Management and Negotiation Skills

We may all agree that the lockdown brought by COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the daily routine of students from multiple dimensions: work arrangement, socialisation, and study. While these changes may have brought severe uncertainty and anxiety to those who were directly affected, students who maintained a reasonable level of social engagement (online apps to connect to family/friends, videoconferencing and online forums) and those who managed to exercise and engaged in some form of personal development activities, seem to be among optimistic. These students who are showcasing a great level of emotional fitness, are patiently and enthusiastically awaiting the situation improve.