Quarantine impacts student mental health

Sarah Mountain

Arts & Living Editor

As Troy University moved the last few weeks of spring classes, as well as summer classes, online and Alabama is now under a mandatory stay-at-home order, many students are self-isolating in their dorm or with their families – and that has come with some challenges.

“Living at home for the first time since I was 17 has been one of the most difficult parts of this year, honestly,” said Alexis Kirkpatrick, a junior elementary education major from Niceville, Florida. “And not because I don’t like living by their rules or anything, but because it feels like a huge mental step back from the progress I’ve made since I moved out.

“I’m thankful to have a place to live, and I’m sure it is easier to be here than alone in a dorm room, but the toll it’s taking is a lot more than I thought it would be.”

Abbey Raymore, a junior marketing major from Dothan, Alabama, is one of the students who has been living in her dorm since the end of spring break.

“Truthfully, I have never felt so alone,” Raymore said. “I live by myself in my dorm and the isolation is almost maddening.

“It is taking everything in me to remain secluded for my safety and others’ (safety), but the extrovert in me is screaming. I just want to see people and hug my friends.”

While Troy University’s Student Counseling Center is not providing in-person counseling at this time, counseling and consultations are available via telephone and video conferencing.

Quarantine and social isolation can cause some serious mental health issues, and the Troy community is as dedicated as ever to make sure  students are getting the best care that they can.

A study reported in the February 2020 issue of the Lancet Medical Journal looked into what stressors people in quarantine face, and the potential side effects.

The study outlines key stressors as “longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss and stigma.”

According to the study, likely results of these stressors include “emotional disturbance, depression, stress, low mood, irritability, insomnia, post-traumatic stress symptoms, anger and emotional exhaustion,” according to the study.

These symptoms can be very problematic in the life of a student or professor who is already struggling with the change to online school.

“It has definitely been harder to focus on school,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m glad my professors are doing the most to maintain a sense of normalcy with Zoom classes and frequent announcements, but there’s no way to truly make it the same.

“It’s so much easier to ignore assignments, or at least feel an extreme lack of motivation to try any more. I almost wish they hadn’t extended the drop period, I’m sure there’s a lot of students looking at that drop button too often.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines information to help maintain mental health while self-isolating.

First, remember that social distancing does not mean social isolation, so do your best to keep up with family and friends via video calls.

Try to maintain a healthy eating, exercising and sleeping routine. Taking care of your body will help you take care of your mind, according to the CDC.

Experts there also recommend consuming news in moderation. Remain educated on the developing situation without overwhelming yourself with it.

The CDC says that some anxiety in a time like this is normal, and mental health crisis lines are available to the public at all times.

Troy students may reach the Student Counseling Center at (334) 670-3700 or email scc@troy.edu. More information on this can be found on https://my.troy.edu/counseling-center/

Editor’s Note: Italic text in story represent changes made after publication. The Tropolitan apologizes for any errors made in earlier versions. 

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