Psychological effects of the pandemic


Madalynn Lewis

Xeska Martinchick and Shiva Singh studying in the cafeteria

Yang Zhang, Staff Writer

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic has been deeply affecting the Fossil community and separating the Fossil family. Lisa Cole, a mental health professional in Poudre School District,  explains the psychological effects the pandemic has had on students and staff at Fossil including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and drug usage.

Ever since the beginning of the pandemic some people that have PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) are having major issues coping with anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the inability to fully recover from a trauma.The pandemic has only amplified their symptoms. People that have been traumatised by losing a loved one, family member, or friend due to disease are more anxious than ever.  An example would be that a student or staff member is  still having trouble recovering from losing their grandmother due to a heart attack, and because of the pandemic they are informed that COVID-19 puts people with underlying heart conditions at risk. The stress levels of that person will be amplified dramatically, and is now worried about their father,  who also has underlying heart conditions. The anxiety of that person will also dramatically increase as now they are checking the local news from time to time and desperate to find out when it is safe to go shopping or to walk their dogs, 

Bailey Tracer studying in the library (Yang Zhang)

Before the pandemic, coping with anxiety was already one of the most important topics that was being addressed concerning staff and students’ mental health. As the pandemic unrolled, there had been more and more breaking news of people getting COVID-19 and getting mentally impacted as millions of people lost their lives. Being surrounded by the stressful environment and constant negativity, the anxiety for both students and staff has increased dramatically.

Depression is a very heavy and important topic that students and staff pay attention to, and the causes can vary between people, but anxiety is one of the factors that contributes to depression. With the pandemic, some students and staff are losing their abilities to cope with anxiety. Some people’s coping skills are to go to the gym or hang out with friends. This has been made impossible by the pandemic; gyms are closed down and people cannot hang out around others without a face mask or fewer than 6 feet apart. With the lack of coping with anxiety people are more likely to fall into depression because of the inability to use other coping methods.

Concentration is one of the most important skills for teachers to be able to teach and for students to learn in school. As the pandemic has unfolded, the concentration of the students and staff has greatly decreased due to the worries about their family. An example would be a student that is worried about their siblings at home who got quarantined because their friend tested positive, and now they are worried about possibly spreading the virus even further. People that are used to remote learning are now having trouble adjusting to a hybrid or in-person learning style. The last time the Fossil family saw each other without a mask was online or a year ago, right  before COVID-19  broke out. Now, they are suddenly surrounded by people with masks on and having trouble identifying each other. Due to the isolation people have started to misinterpret what others have said as well.

Drugs like marijuana, tobacco products, and alcohol are illegal for students under the age of 21 in Colorado, and the effects of the pandemic on the illegal usage of drugs by students is unclear. Lisa Cole, a mental health specialist in Poudre School District, said, “for a student that his parents are home all the time, the drug and alcohol use might decrease because they have watchful parents on them now.” However, if their parents are always in the office, it could increase their anxiety because they feel isolated. This, in turn, could result in illegal drug usage. 

Ever since the start of COVID-19 pandemic both student and staff are still being impacted, through the hardship and adverse conditions, it is important for us have hope and  seek help when needed instead of turning to drugs and other harmful ways to cope with the anxiety.