Minding mental health

Students at LM express how the quarantine has affected their mental health, as well as what they have been doing to stay occupied during these strange times.

Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

Just a year ago, it would have been preposterous to imagine that a virus could have such a monumental impact on the world. Who could have thought that students would be wearing masks everyday, going to school on their computers, and having to socially distance from others? Nonetheless, this is the new reality. The abrupt change from the old way of life is stressful and there is a real fear not only about getting sick with the virus but the impact it could have on loved ones. Additionally, while in the hybrid model, there was the looming possibility of quarantining again which would force everyone to separate from their friends and life at school. Due to this drastic change in everyday life, it is no wonder that mental health has been impacted. In a recent survey, LM students were asked how quarantine and the lockdown affected their mental health. Aniah Gagliano ’23 expressed that being distanced from her friends for a long period of time was difficult for her, claiming that, “Not being able to interact with my friends the way we used to, and also seeing everyone wearing masks all the time has negatively affected me. I feel like I’m always missing out on something because things can’t be the way they were before the pandemic.” Students throughout LM agree that quarantine left a negative impact on their mental health.

While many students felt unproductive while staying at home for such long periods of time, others felt lonely since they were unable to socialize and spend time with friends. Despite the difficulties, students and teachers at LM were able to find ways to battle through this quarantine fatigue to take care of their mental health. For example, Eva DelMonte ’23 described how she maintained a positive outlook during this time: “I like to bake of- ten which always makes me happy and I’ve taken the time to do fun things with my friends [safely] like movie nights and brunches outside which has made quarantining better.” Listening to music, playing a musical instrument, taking walks, painting, riding bikes, and talking to friends over FaceTime and Zoom are all different ways LM students have been maintaining their well-being during the pandemic.

In mid-October, LM adopted the new hybrid school model, which allowed for students to go to school in-person two days a week and remain home for the rest of the week. While some students decided to continue completely virtual learning through the [email protected] program, others who participated in the hybrid model were able to go to school in-person. While in school, students had the opportunity to see their teachers and interact with their classmates in a safe, socially-distanced manner. As a result, many students witnessed improvements in their mental health. Kaelin Edge ’23 comments, “I like that two days out of the week I get to see my friends and be more productive. And then another three days out of the week I get to stay home.” Teachers at LM also noticed improvements when the hybrid model was implemented. Chemistry teacher David Moyer explained that school “helps keep kids engaged” and the overall energy in the classroom was much better during the hybrid model. He also notes that simultaneously teaching students in school and at home is challenging, but he feels very fortunate to be able to see his students everyday. While the current situation results in different repercussions on mental health, in the end it remains clear that staying positive and finding ways to have fun through difficult moments helps students and teachers remain both physically and mentally healthy throughout the course of these strange and trying times.

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