by Kiran Subramanian ’21
Since March, New Jerseyans have been in quarantine due to COVID-19. This was necessary, as COVID-19 posed a serious health threat due to its rapid spreading, especially in a densely-populated state like New Jersey. However, COVID-19 has affected people’s health in a more detrimental way; it has affected the mental health of people across America.
The decline in mental health of Americans can be attributed to COVID-19. One reason is that many people are afraid of catching the virus. In an April Healthline survey, 60% reported that they were afraid of catching the virus. This is a significant increase from March 12th to 18th, when only 41% reported having this fear.
Not only is anxiety about catching the virus increasing, but depression rates are growing as well. According to YouGov, in 2006, only 37% of the population showed levels of depression. That number has increased to 49% in April 2020. This depression has started to affect people’s day to day activities, with Forbes reporting that 28% of Americans say they have difficulty concentrating and 15% claiming that it takes them longer to accomplish a task.
Even in the Montgomery community, the mental health issue is present. In a survey given to MHS students, the average response to ranking the state of their mental health on a scale of one to ten, with one being poor, was a 6.6. While this may seem decent, when asked about their mental health before COVID-19, the average response of an MHS student was a 6.9, indicating that social distancing and quarantine have had a negative impact on the mental health of students.
In case someone is suffering from mental health issues, there are ways to improve it during this time. Junior Alexander Tan recommends people to: “Get outside in the sun. Do something, like a hobby. Eat EXTRA healthy – trust me, it’s more important to mental state than you think. Facetime friends.” Junior Aryan Aggarwal echoes some of these points, saying, “Just try to keep it together. Socialize with friends via Facetime or the equivalent. Keep on doing something.” While this may be a very difficult time, there are resources, such as guidance counselors and text lines, that one can utilize if they are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed.