NECC Observer

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

Students share how pandemic has affected mental health

According to a Nov. 11 Boston Globe article, since the pandemic young adults have been experiencing higher rates of depression and other mental health concerns as the COVID-19 pandemic rages forward in the U.S. Some Northern Essex Community College students say they have experienced issues with their mental health as well.

Mariam Saldivar is a student from Northern Essex Community College. Her major is Journalism/communications, and she is from the Dominican Republic and now lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Saldivar states how quarantine affected or changed her mental health, saying “The days have started to blur together, and there’s this sense of dread that time is running out. So yeah, it impacted my mental health in a bad way.’’

This is a good example of how most young adults are feeling around this time during this pandemic. Life is an emotional roller coaster. Some days you feel like nothing can stop you, but others can be challenging to our mental well-being.

Ariana MacNeil, a reporter for the Boston Globe wrote in the NOv. 11 article that experts have found that young adults, ages 18 to 24, throughout the country, are experiencing higher rates of major depressive symptoms

Saldivar states what she does to make her feel better, “either write, read, or listen to music.” These strategies are great to use when you feel depressed to uplift your mood. Listening to music especially is a great strategy that helps you feel better if you are sad or feeling down that day.

Young adults have experienced anxiety and depression since being in quarantine. Saldivar said she has “absolutely’’ felt the same way. The Harvard and Northeastern study was a follow-up to one released in May 2020, which saw higher instances of depression that spanned across young adults — depression was up 27 percent compared to in the past, according to the Boston Globe. That’s a high percentage of depression among young people.

Communicating with anybody when you feel sad or lonely like a friend or a family member can help people feel less isolated. Salividar reaches out to others explaining, “yeah, I play video games with my friend. That way we can talk, and we spend lots of time.’’  Having a person there for you to cheer you up is very great as well and surrounding yourself with positive activities as well.

Sleep has a huge impact on mental health, so having a good sleep schedule or sleep habits is important during the pandemic to prevent mental health issues.  Saldivar says, “Yeah, it’s all over the place, I sleep whenever.” Having a good sleep schedule is good and developing good habits is important because it can really affect your body.

Mirroajah Metcalfe is another student from Northern Essex Community College.  Her major in Journalism/Communications. She is from Las Vegas and currently lives in Haverhill, Massachusetts. When asked how the quarantine affected or changed her mental health, Metcalfe stated that she, “became more isolated.’’ Being more isolated is a symptom of worsening mental health. There are easy ways to help isolation such as staying active and setting structure in your life and self-care.

Metcalfe stated ways that have helped her do better in that issue. ”I spent time trying to figure out who I am and learning how to be alone.’’ Spending time with yourself and getting to know who you are is also important.

Experiencing depression and anxiety is common during the quarantine. Metcalfe stated, “Yes I have felt depression sometimes.’’

Most young adults have been struggling with this feeling, especially young women. They are at a higher risk to experience mental health problems.

Communicating with somebody when you feel sad or lonely, like a friend or a family member is helpful. Metcalfe stated, “Yeah I have one best friend, but he lives in another state so it’s always over Facetime, unfortunately, but it’s still nice having someone to call and rant to.” Having a friend to be there for you is great and you feel like you can express yourself too, so that is great for mental health.

Having any changes in your sleep schedule or sleep habits can affect your mental health, Metcalfe stated, ‘’My sleep schedule was very erratic and random, so I had to really discipline myself.’’ Maintaining a good sleeping schedule is very important, like setting alarms and making a list of