Many students are seeing improvements in mental health thanks to new consistencies in their everyday lives and learning how to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morgan Sharpless, interim assistant director for WVU’s Carruth Center, pointed out the effect the pandemic has had on student’s everyday activities.
“I think there’s a variety of things that have definitely been challenging for students because of the pandemic that would’ve never probably come up before, having as much weight on students as it does now,” Sharpless said.
However, Sharpless said things are beginning to look up as students are adapting to the new normal.
“I think that there's been a little bit more consistency in grounding with how classes are run and what’s safe and how to kind of navigate being a student while also globally having more education and awareness about what this disease is,” Sharpless said. “I think that those pieces have helped give a little bit more understanding than there probably was last year at this time.”
Sharpless spoke on the importance of self-care, reminding students they can take a break, keep a good schedule and acknowledge that it's OK not to be OK.
“I think a lot of times, students will try to push things away or minimize their concern and pretend that they’re not there, but they are and they're usually pretty significant, and sometimes students are not OK,” Sharpless said.
Payton Lyons, a sophomore psychology student, expressed how the spring semester had been easier for her than when students first returned to campus in the fall.
Lyons said that with not having a job and so many activities being shut down during the fall semester, she found herself struggling with her mental health.
“For me personally, being on campus during COVID, at least with fall semester, it was really hard for me. Everything was closed, at that point I didn’t have a job and it seemed like I never left my apartment, so I definitely struggled with my mental health a lot fall semester,” Lyons said.
Lyons has since gotten a job, which has given her the opportunity to make new friends and helped improve her mental health.
Though things are looking up, many students still struggle with mental health, and WVU has many resources open to students who feel like they need help.
The Carruth Center offers multiple different types of services such as individual counseling, group counseling, workshops and emergency services.
The first few individual sessions are free to students. Students that request counseling beyond the free sessions are then charged $25 per session, but fees will be discussed before the limit is reached. Group counseling has no charge.
The Carruth Center is currently offering all services through telehealth and students can learn how to reach out by visiting carruth.wvu.edu.