By Arianna Schuck
According to Mental Health America, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit in Virginia dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illnesses, there has been a 12 to 19 percent increase in anxiety since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
“It is normal to have a lot of big feelings during this very difficult time,” said Victoria Follette, program chair for clinical psychology at Florida Tech. “We need to be able to face and accept these feelings. Everyone is feeling the strain of the quarantine and that means we all are having some strain on our mental health.”
According to Follette, it is important to find ways to cope during these uncertain times. Some coping mechanisms recommended by Follette include:
- Keep a schedule to provide structure
- Explore your values. What do you really want your life to be about and where are you going? Are there things that you can do every day that align with these values?
- Get creative. Is there something you always wanted to do or learn? Try your hand at something new.
- Have a zoom party. Think of games, like having a scavenger hunt or doing a painting together.
According to Cat Nanney, director of student involvement, the university also provides students with an app called Talkspace — a service that provides online therapy with licensed therapists. After a brief assessment, students are matched with a licensed therapist and can start messaging them through text or video chat. No appointments are needed for Talkspace, and students have 24/7 access to communicate with a therapist.
“A few national organizations, such as Alpha Tau Omega, have partnerships [with talkspace] that can be used by their members [for free],” Nanney explained. “So, members of our Kappa Eta chapter here on campus can use their services through their partnership with their national office.”
Joe White, a junior majoring in aviation management with flight, stated that his mental health, despite the quarantine, has been fairly good.
“I take the time during the day to talk to my friends and family as well as exercise or maybe take a walk outside,” White said.
According to White, the worst thing about quarantine is having limited options when finding something to keep busy, but he said it’s important to find things to do each day so he doesn’t feel stuck.
Through Follette’s tips and Talkspace, negative thoughts and feelings during this overwhelming time can be put to ease.