The mental health of students in the time of pandemic is becoming one of the hottopics worldwide as the overall development, performance, career goals and focus ofa student depends on his/her mental health. The mental health of students, not onlyin this time but also throughout their studies should be given priority as instabilities intheir mental health, not only have a drastic impact on their personality and career butalso community. A student not only is responsible for their career development butalso is the future of the country and contributes to its overall growth.COVID 19 pandemic has accompanied psychological issues with it. Though studentsdue to their age range are less prone to be victims of COVID 19 but are at a verge ofbecoming victims of mental adverse effects. It has been identified that people aredeveloping moderate-to-severe depressive and anxious symptoms. COVID 19 hasmade people change their routine and working conditions. It has shown us a newway of living. COVID 19 has a drastic impact on student mental health and theirstudies. Due to social distancing, universities and schools have started an onlinelearning platform for the majority of students. This sudden change to online learningplatform may leave students with declined motivation towards studies. According tothe research on the impact of academic disruptions on students (Wickens, 2011), itcan be concluded that students may feel an increased pressure due to individuallearning, withdrawal of daily routines, and an increased rate of dropout may beobserved.COVID 19 led to a public health emergency which generates angst and a variety ofpsychological consequences. This may range from depression, stress andsubstance abuse to difficulty in sleeping and stress eating. Students may also find itdifficult to cope up with the loneliness and isolation due to disconnections frompartners and friends. Some students also have a home-like feeling in college .it mayintensify the negativity and feelings like anxiety, frustration and betrayal. Collegestudents are distressed due to sudden disruption of the semester .students careerhas witnessed a downfall as many research projects and internships had to becancelled and some had to leave in between due to worldwide lockdown. Studentsare also anxious about their results and the completion time of their graduation orpost-graduation. Students may face a problem in managing their expenses in thistime of pandemic as additional expenses add-ins and many ways of income areshut. Students have also lost on campus jobs and many pending fees like room andboard fees still exist. This financial crisis and expenses lead to hardship and mentalillness.Students experience tremendous stress before and during the examinations .asmany semester examinations and entrance examinations are postponed with nofurther date declaration, left the student anxious and confused. Students prepare for
entrance examinations with great effort and also dedicate one or more than one yearto prepare. The postponement has left the students who prepare for the entranceexamination in a stressed condition as their pre-examination period would continueuntil they sit for the examination. The awaited dates have left students withuncertainty in their career and also parents adding up to their stress as they are alsoworried for their child future.Schools and colleges have been a support system in terms of counselling as manyprovide counselling and resolve personal issues. With the closure of institutions, theservice provided by the counsellor had to see a sudden disruption. Due to thissudden disruption, students are facing a major mental issue as the impact oflockdown and the anxiety caused by it adds to their afore issues with no guidance asto how to resolve them. This can be a major problem for economically weak studentsas it is difficult for them to avail such costly services. COVID 19 pandemic maydeteriorate the prevailing concerns and can lead to increased cases in students as itis an exclusive combination of the public health crisis, economic recession and socialdistancing.According to Maslow’s theory of Human Motivation, five levels describe the basichuman needs for a balanced and satisfying life. The most basic level that is the firstand lowest order need is physiological needs. Physiological needs are important forour survival like food, shelter; air etc. Second level is Safety that provides human acomforting environment over variation, unfamiliarity and turmoil. The third level is aconsequence of human hunger for love and belonging, which connects peopleemotionally and physically. Fourth stands esteem, which shows a need for self-respect and high evaluation. Finally, the requisite of being satisfied by realizing andattaining one’s true potential emerges the highest order and the last level of Maslowtheory that is self-actualisation.COVID 19 have a deleterious effect on each of the level of the Maslow’s Hierarchyand each interference in the level causes damaging effects on not only students butall people’s mental health. The main concern at student level arises from the leveldemanding love and belonging as social distancing has caused a major deficiency ofemotional and physical connections, leading to lack of affection and love frombeloved .if one has a disruption in one of the levels of Maslow Theory, he cannotattain the higher levels and thus it leads to an unbalanced mental health anddissatisfaction.Colleges and universities can play an important role in improving student mentalhealth by building awareness about student’s mental health issues and needs. Thereare many ways to tackle the current situation. Educational institutes can establish amental health cell with an eligible psychiatrist or psychologist and institutes shouldprovide online weekly counselling to the students and mentioning the ways to handletheir emotions and balance their mental health. Regular stress level can also bemonitored using online tools as to prevent the student from entering the state of depression. Regular advice should be given to students to offer academic support.Alternative plans should be made and implemented for the research projects andinternships that have been cancelled or paused as a result of lockdown.Teachers can also play an important role in tackling the unbalanced student mentalhealth.as the new academic year begins, the teacher can provide a safe andprotective environment for students and can help against the trauma caused due tothe pandemic. Parents and family support is a must during the pandemic to addressmental health issues. Parents should communicate more with their children andshould try to involve their child in meaningful conversations. They should initiateprocesses that would help their child to be happier and that make them strongeremotionally and mentally. The environment at the home should be friendly,encouraging and calm. Home environment plays a crucial role in the developmentand perception of a student towards his/her career and mental health.The article highlights the various factors that contribute to the stress and mentalillness of students in the pandemic. Still, there remains a need to learn more aboutthe psychological impacts that students are facing and what all measures can betaken to control the situation and reduce the causes of disturbance in mental healthof students.
Name of Author: Sweta Mittal
Position: OPF Trainee Intern