(High School Insider)
The Literacy Guild

Opinion: Mental health should be a main priority during quarantine

One of the biggest problems with our society today is mental health, especially after a challenging year of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. It affects everyone and nearly one in five people in the U.S. suffer from mental health issues. Mental health is a serious problem that is thankfully being addressed by multiple sides. 

The awareness of mental health has gone up significantly. This is because the general public perception of mental health has improved and there has been greater importance put on the troubles people face due to mental health challenges. 

The serious problems with mental health have been worsened by the quarantine where the new environment has brought many unexpected challenges.

There are many mental health conditions being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine lifestyle we all have to deal with in one way or another today. Some of the major conditions affecting society the most are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

ADHD has made it increasingly difficult for students to study because of online classes not being the best environment for them. The impact that depression has had on an isolated public has had some serious mental health implications.

The potential problem with PTSD is not the people that already have it but the potential influx of new cases of PTSD from the pandemic. Mental health is a threat to society, especially during this pandemic quarantine.

One of the most commonly known mental health disorders is ADHD. Factors that might cause ADHD are not very clear. Most believe it is caused by genetics, the environment, or some other problem. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, ADHD is defined by inattention, disorganization and hyperactivity-impulsivity. 

A big part of this disease is that it’s very hard for the person that has this to be able to be on the same level as a person that doesn’t. It makes them not able to function properly in today’s society as well as making it very hard for them to get a job or contribute to society as a whole. People usually get a diagnosis very young. 

In a normal school setting people with this type of mental health problem usually receive more aid. The pandemic has made it so the only option is online learning, which is not a suitable environment for these students if there ever was one.

With ADHD, the potential problem is the student being unable to stay on the task themselves without teacher support. The computer itself is a very distracting tool where many other activities can be done that is not school work and it can make students with this disorder have even more trouble focusing. The pandemic distance learning has stripped students of the support they need to maximize their learning despite their ADHD.

Another common mental health issues is depression. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depression involves evident changes in mood, thought processes and motivation for at least two weeks. Factors that can cause depression are dramatic changes in life, extremely stressful situations and several other conditions that may not be clear or obvious or it could just be completely random. Symptoms of depression can be seen as change in sleep/energy, appetite or weight.

Depression can negatively affect a person’s life by making them more apathetic, less motivated to do certain activities, discomfort in thoughts, and can lead to consequences like homicides as well as suicides. 

Someone can receive a diagnosis if their doctor notices a change in behavior or mood as well as specific questions that are asked. There are antidepressants that many in the world take. The real problem is being able to spot if someone has depression and what is the best course of action to do because many antidepressants have many side effects with them.

Friends and families have to be able to identify if the person has depression which is difficult because depression is not easy to spot. It is also one of the conditions that are relatively easy to hide and many find it difficult to see if they have it themselves.

The inclusion of self-isolation and loneliness has made diagnosing it much harder but also dealing with an order of magnitude more difficult. These challenges of depression are exacerbated by the quarantine. It makes it far harder for a doctor to diagnose because doctor visits are now much less common. What can be a major problem is that the quarantine can cause depression with the prominence of alarming news on a daily basis and the fact that social interactions are now much more limited.

A major factor that can happen in these times is the loss of a loved one or having several important events canceled or lessened like birthdays, holidays or family gatherings. Depression is challenging enough in normal times, and it’s made much more serious in the current pandemic. 

One of the scariest mental disorders is PTSD. Basically PTSD can be simplified into being scarred mentally by an extremely traumatic event. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, symptoms of PTSD include cognitive and mood symptoms, avoidance and arousal symptoms.

This condition negatively affects a person’s life by making them relive that traumatic event or with certain triggers forcing them to suffer immensely.

The most common treatment is psychotherapy. It is also very difficult for family and friends to help the affected.

The traumatic events of 2020 have made a breeding ground for mental diseases, and there will likely be an influx of PTSD patients who have suffered from trauma due to illness, grief, violence or other loss as a result of the pandemic.

Quarantine has made certain changes to the way hospitals operate. It’s not only people who have gotten the virus directly, but it has also affected people indirectly. Loved ones every day have to suffer from seeing their family members die. People are refusing to go to hospitals out of fear of the virus. The trauma for all these emergencies can result in more PTSD cases.

The many mental illnesses that exist ruin many people’s lives and can lead to terrible consequences. The baseline is that many mental illnesses have been thriving in the wake of the quarantine. The combination of isolation and serious health problems has made our mind prey to the horrors of mental illness.

ADHD, depression and PTSD just scratch the surface of how many people are suffering. As we try to work through and then recover from this pandemic, mental health should be at the top of the list.