Updated: Apr 12
With self-isolation expected to last through at least May, the state of the coronavirus is affecting the sanity of those following the strict advisement to stay home.
Opinion by Sarah Best, News Editor
Mandates of indefinite self-isolation are both necessary and fundamental to prevent the spread of COVID-19 further, but at what cost to one’s mental health?
People in every part of the world are exercising the recommended practice of staying in your home and limiting nonessential movement, but it reaches the peak where one is faced with an inherent lack of social interaction and a plethora of time stuck in one’s thoughts. With restaurants closing their doors, grocery stores being wiped clean and millions of people now without a job, the virus is indirectly impacting both the daily lives and mental states of people worldwide.
“In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial [unemployment] claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level,” stated a News Release from the Department of Labor. “This is the highest level for insured unemployment since April 14, 2018 when it was 1,824,000.”
Unemployment rates are continuing to skyrocket and for those whose jobs do not accommodate working from home and thus no longer have an income, financial uncertainty and fear of the future pose an enormous cause of calamity and overwhelming stress.
“I no longer have a job and even though I don’t have many bills to pay, my parents do,” said Los Angeles City Lifeguard Giovani Villalobos. “And as of now, without a rent or mortgage freeze, my family is on the road to either losing our home or losing all of our money to try to save our home.”
Mental health deterioration does not stop at the general public, but also extends to the nurses and doctors working tirelessly to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. After being diagnosed with the virus on March 10, Italian nurse Daniela Trezzi took her own life out of fear of possibly infecting others. The 34 year old was said to have been dealing with a staggering amount of stress from her job at the San Gerardo Hospital in Monza, according to the New York Post.
For those who are isolating themselves in their home and limiting nonessential movement, doing so day after day can make the transition into a sad, depressive state that much easier. With hopes to aid in the prevention of succumbing to the pandemonium of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists ways in which one can cope with stress and anxiety such as meditating and eating healthy.
On top of the vast majority of schools transferring to online instruction, high school and college graduations alike have been canceled across the country. Students at many schools like UCLA, CSULA and Harvard are now faced with the limited options of either participating in a virtual commencement or not having one entirely. With some being postponed to an unforeseen date, the news of possibly not having a commencement to reward a student’s copious amounts of invested time and money over many years is still disheartening nonetheless.
“Graduation is just one of those things, you know? Like I worked hard for this degree, and it’s not all about the ceremony, but a little bit it is,” remarked Cal Poly Pomona student Megan Gale. “Your family and friends get to be there and you say your final goodbyes and take pictures in your cap and gown. It’s important.”
It is easy to become discouraged, angry and even confused as to what the next step is for the students that no longer have a graduation, those no longer in the workforce and for the healthcare professionals who do not get a day off during the chaos. The COVID-19 pandemic has induced a state of overwhelming stress and a sense of uncertainty in the future. During times of turmoil and anguish, it is important to remember that this state of our country and more importantly our minds, is only temporary.