Mental health reminder in another year of coronavirus

Written By Chandni Shah, Opinions Editor

Fellow students and staff, let’s address the elephant in the room: COVID-19 is still an active participant in our lives. Some of us pretended as if it had all just disappeared suddenly, we took off our masks at work, stopped having miniature panic attacks every time we coughed and even hung out with more than six to eight people at a time. Things seemed to be going back to normal, not because they were, but because we wanted them to. Those who said they’d never get the vaccine did, just because they wanted to participate in some sense of normalcy.

This summer was a fever dream. People went to concerts, family barbecues, bars, sports games, restaurants, other countries, beaches, etc., with little to no concern about spreading COVID-19. But there was also a voice in the back of our heads saying “this won’t last forever.” That voice was right. The Delta variant swept in and carried with it the hopes and dreams of students everywhere—to have a normal school year. Many universities and public school districts are enforcing mask and vaccination policies for this school year, as they should.

I would just like to remind everyone that whatever you’re going through right now, take it easy on yourself. We are coming back into an environment where we won’t be able to see each other’s faces all of the time or can’t attend class due to a coronavirus-related issue. This isn’t easy for anybody, not for healthcare workers, not for people who work in public settings and not for students and faculty. And through all of this, we are still enduring.

Take care of your mental health. Don’t put yourself down or mark your feelings off as if they aren’t a big deal, because they are. The struggle is real, especially right now. Most importantly, you are not alone. We all need each other to make it through this semester, whether it’s your last, your first, or somewhere in between. We are in constant tandem with or when our lives will go back to “normal,” all while tackling the college workload, jobs, family, friendships and just trying to take care of ourselves. Once again, this isn’t easy. So if you are struggling, reach out, it’s okay to ask for help sometimes. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

The university offers a counseling center, available to all students. You can contact them and set up an appointment through email or phone number, [email protected], 412-392-3977. They offer in-person counseling that follows COVID-19 guidelines. They also offer online services such as workshops and classes if you are not comfortable with meeting a counselor in person or if you live off campus. If you are in need of immediate help call the Resolve Crisis Center at 888-796-8226. There are other resources and online services that are accessible but just reaching out to friends and family is also helpful.

Students and staff, let’s take special care of our mental health this year, because you are important and it matters.