NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Pandemic impacting mental and physical health

It is no surprise that many people find the COVID-19 pandemic stressful both physically and mentally. The actions that we take to protect ourselves and others from the COVID virus, such as social distancing and stay-at-home orders can make you feel isolated, anxious, and scared.

Ian Shea, a student at NECC said, “The pandemic has been a challenge on all fronts. I had to cancel my gym membership because I wasn’t sure when they would reopen and if they’d be safe once they did open back up. I haven’t been as physically active as I was before this started.”

On his mental health and coping with the feelings of isolation and anxiety, he stated, “dealing with the pandemic has been very lonely. I don’t want to risk exposing my family or my friends so I’ve really limited how much I see people in person. No birthday parties or summer cookouts or anything. When I do see people, I try to keep it outdoors at a safe distance. I’ve known people who have died from COVID so it’s made me, I would say overly cautious. I don’t want to risk contracting the virus and I don’t want to unknowingly give it to anyone else. I think what’s been keeping me feel sane and not slip into depression is trying to constantly keep busy. Whether it’s work or school assignments or just binging TV shows and movies, I try to keep myself occupied so I don’t sit around worrying all the time.

“And even though I haven’t been able to see people in person as much as I normally would, I’ve been making an effort to connect through phone, text, and FaceTime. A couple weeks ago, I visited a friend I hadn’t seen in months. We stood in his driveway on opposite sides of the car and just talked, catching up.”

Even though everyone in the U.S is currently dealing with the pandemic and its effects, many people, including front line healthcare workers and mental health experts have put other’s needs above their own.

Gabriel Garcia, a Multi-Cultural Mental Health Clinician who works for the NECC Counseling Service said, “Students have shared with me how challenging the last several months have been, but also how they have continued to be successful through this hardship. Although this pandemic has isolated many of us, students have worked together with faculty and staff to create safe online classrooms/programs to grow. For example, creating study spaces in their homes, using the school’s online resources, and participating in online clubs. It has been very inspiring that even when facing new and challenging obstacles, students continue to adapt and prosper. One quote comes to mind and I hope it does not minimize the daily challenges that we are all facing. “Growth occurs when individuals confront problems, struggle to master them, and through that struggle develop new aspects of their skills, capacities, views about life.” – Carl Rogers, Ph.D.”