The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people economically and mentally. The BGSU Counseling Center is adapting to social distancing to help support the people they serve by moving to a virtual format.
A column by USA Today points out the physical distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is having a negative effect on the mental health of many Americans. The article calls for major action to be taken to support mental health across the nation.
Dr. Amanda Schaad, outreach coordinator and ResLife liaison of the BGSU Counseling Center, said the center has been reaching out to students to ensure they know that counseling is still available in a virtual format.
Schaad pointed out this pandemic is activating everyone’s survival instincts of fight, flight or freeze.
“It can cycle between these trying to decide which is most beneficial at any given time.” Schaad said.
She also said that people can experience a variety of other emotions during this pandemic and that it’s normal to be feeling these emotions.
Senior language arts education major Olivia Behm feels that there is more of a chance to fall into depressive episodes.
“Right now, I’m currently living alone in my apartment, so I’m trying to reach out to others,” Behm said.
She knows being alone may cause her manic depression to flare up and said that this quarantine is like self-isolation, which she knows is detrimental to her mental health.
Before the quarantine, Behm was seeing an off-campus psychiatrist on a regular basis. Due to the quarantine, she has not been able to see her regular psychiatrist. With the support of the BGSU Counseling Center, she has been able to continue to find support through virtual platforms.
Other students have not reached out to the center or other mental health services, but are still feeling the effects the virus is having on their mental health. One such student is Megan Brubaker, a senior tourism, hospitality and event management major at BGSU.
“My anxiety is also worse, the more I have time to just think about everything that is going on,” she said.
Brubaker said the constant updates about the virus from government officials and news outlets has heightened her anxiety and she is uncomfortable not knowing the outcome of the pandemic.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that in order to cope with the stress caused by the pandemic, people should take regular breaks from news stories.
The CDC reinforces Schaad’s previous claim that everyone may react with different emotions.
Behm worries that even those who would not normally experience mental health issues may begin to experience some level of anxiety or depression during this time.
“Everyone is struggling to adjust in some way,” she said.
Many students are now living back home and have concerns about falling back into harmful patterns.
Behm will be moving back home with her parents and she is worried about falling back into the patterns of her previous eating disorder, which she experienced when she was in high school.
Many students are trying to find ways at home to cope with these heightened worries.
The BGSU Counseling Center is also aware of these worries and is working on ways to help students.
“We are brainstorming ways to conduct community intervention/outreach in new ways such as through social media/videos/drop-in virtual spaces,” Schaad said.
While the BGSU Counseling Center brainstorms different outreach ideas, some students have been trying to find their own ways to manage.
Brubaker is attempting to manage her symptoms by going on walks every day and cleaning her apartment to stay busy, but still finds herself zoning out and not using her time wisely.
The CDC website hosts many resources available to help those struggling to manage the stress caused by the pandemic.
Experts say these online resources will never match in-person mental health support, but these facilities are doing what they can with the resources they have to help the people they serve.
To reach out to the BGSU Counseling Center, visit their website, or by phone at (419) 372-2081.