The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in learning conditions different from any other year. The introduction of remote learning has especially impacted the mental health of the student body. Polling conducted by The Echo showed that roughly 66.7% of students that participated in the survey rated their stress levels at a four out of five, and 11.1% rated it at a three.
With remote learning, the physical barrier between home and school no longer exists, creating a lack of separation for Mount Greylock students. Within the comfort of one’s home, students like junior Livia Morales find the environment to be “less overwhelming,” although it is “harder to stay motivated.”
This environment created by remote learning is a problem for many. “I stay in the same room all day, alone,” said junior Mackenzie Sheehy, “staring at a screen for hours and hours.” Even though many students understand the reasoning behind remote learning, this concern about increased screen time and lack of mobility seems to be common.
So with such high stress levels, is Mt. Greylock equipped to deal with students’ mental health needs? According to 77.8% of those asked, students are not supplied with enough resources.
“ There are…significant detrimental effects to being cooped up in the house all day,” said student Henry Art. While Art relayed that outreach through health teacher and Peer Team director Mrs. Leitt “is a really good resource,” many students surveyed expressed that they had not used any school resources to benefit their mental health.
One reason that students feel unable to look to the school for mental health resources is the lack of visibility of any outreach options. “I personally don’t use any school resources for mental health support,” said freshman Julia Dechaine, “mostly for the reason that I haven’t really heard of any.”
Similarly, junior Kate Swann said, “I don’t really know much about what the school is doing.”
Many students expressed that the resources should be more visible so that the student body knows they exist. “Advertising the resources such as Mr. Jones, the Guidance staff, Coach Leitt, and the Peer Team would go a long way in reminding students that they have people to go to if they are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed,” said Art.
Perhaps precipitated by this lack of visibility, students expressed that a lack of comfortability prevented them from reaching out.
“I feel like it could be a bit awkward,” said junior Eleanor McPartland.
The sentiment was matched by multiple other students that were surveyed, such as junior Piper Schulman, who said, “I think students feel uncomfortable talking with the school about their mental health, and they may be scared that they will be reported for talking honestly.” A lack of trust between students and administration seems to contribute to students not reaching out.
In addition, students surveyed revealed that while they’d love to attend to their mental health, they simply do not have the time. Many articulated that the large portion of time spent doing school work and attending to extracurriculars barred them from being able to maintain their mental health.
The general consensus seems to be that while the school may have outreach resources available for students, the lack of visibility, comfortability with administration and the hindrance of school-related time constraints prevent students from fully utilizing any resources the school does have. With more remote learning a possibility in the future, mental health could become a larger issue with rising student stress levels.