Student Mental Health Check-In: Part 2

Bee Sackett, Opinion Editor

Last year, I wrote an article about the mental health of the RCHS student body. Now that we are almost entirely out of the pandemic, I felt it was necessary to talk about the ramifications of a full, somewhat sudden return to society. I will mostly be speaking for myself, but many others were consulted during this article’s writing.

The jarring return to fully in person, mask-free, restrictionless school has been a shock to the systems of many students, especially those who started high school online. When masks were a thing, there remained an element of anonymity that made a lot of students, me included, feel safe and like there was a distance of some sort from school. Now, however, we are fully in school, everyone’s faces are visible, and everyone’s coughs are back in class.

During the pandemic, most students would stay home at any sign of illness, and dodge anyone else who seemed sick. Now, you can hear students coughing and sneezing everywhere, which is not only still scary, but possibly even dangerous. It is things like these that can be really detrimental to the mental health of students. The amount of anxiety that they produce is astronomical.

One thing I have noticed in the school is the lack of anonymous resources available for mental health help or advice. There is no real way to seek help without revealing your name to a counselor, and many students are not comfortable doing so. Without these resources, students who prefer to remain anonymous are really left without any options in school. I believe that this is something that needs to change.

Overall however, I think the mental health of students has improved since last year. Everyone has grown reaccustomed to proper school and the return to society. I would argue that RCHS has become a better place to be since COVID. School is easier with the amount of technology involved, teachers and staff are more sympathetic to students now that they have gone through a mutually miserable experience (the Pandemic). This mutual experience has brought everyone closer together, which is a truly wonderful thing in a society that is so polarized.