Mental Health With In Person School


With students in the building five days a week for the first time in over a year, it’s not surprising that the sudden shift in atmosphere is having an effect on mental health. While some are relieved at the aspect of coming back, there are many others that are stressing over the idea of being around people constantly in the midst of a global pandemic. To help with managing stress and maintaining good mental health, Ms. Quick, the school psychologist, shares advice for the Marriotts Ridge community.
“For some students, virtual learning was positive and allowed for the reduction of stress and maintained or improved mental health,” Quick said.
The lack of distractions and being able to work in one’s own space created a more relaxing environment for some students. Not having to commute to school, having a later start time, and breaks in between classes also benefited students by making their days less hectic and giving them more time to rest and recharge. However, the experience of trying to learn on the computer was challenging and made it harder to form relationships with peers and teachers.
“For some, virtual learning was challenging and impacted their [students] mental health as it limited their access to in-person social interactions,” Quick said.
Returning fully to the building after a year on the computer or in the hybrid model is an unprecedented adjustment for students. School this year has been more work with more tests, but the sense of school spirit has returned to Marriotts Ridge.
“For some students, the return to school has improved the moods of students. They are excited to see peers, friends, and staff members and they are appreciating a return to a more typical daily schedule and routine,” Quick said.
Being able to participate in clubs, sports, and other activities has been beneficial to student moods and creates a long-lost sense of normalcy. Even with the excitement of returning to the building, there are some new stress factors that students previously would not have experienced. Sophomores and students who were redistricted as well as freshmen have to deal with navigating the building for the first time, and juniors and seniors are attempting to remember the layout after being away for so long.
To try and limit the stress of school, Ms. Quick provides some tips for students who may be struggling with the change of coming back to school. Specifically, establishing a daily routine.
“[Establishing a daily routine] Can provide a sense of control, predictability, and well-being. Try to go to bed on-time, get items such as clothes and [your] backpack organized the night before, get up each day at around the same time, eat breakfast and lunch, and make time for physical exercise and activity” Quick Said .
Having a schedule to follow each day and preparing for your mornings can eliminate any additional stress caused by being rushed. She also suggests that students find their support networks.
“Identify the people who are in your support network (such as parents, friends, teachers) and check-in with them regularly to socially interact … and to discuss potential common experiences with the change of coming back to school,” Quick said.
Recognizing your support system can be another helpful resource for students. For resources in the school, Ms. Quick suggests talking to your school counselors or to her. For online resources, she suggests checking the student services website.
Although returning to in-person school is a big adjustment, students can use these resources to manage their stress and deal with any mental health struggles they face along the way.