Mental health should be taken seriously – La Merciade

Recently, the general mental health of Mercyhurst students has been a concern of the administration. In light of this, I have encountered varying responses from teachers. Some ignore it completely; some ask what they can do; some apologize but refuse to change course to alleviate some of the stress. Overall, most of them asked what sort of things contributed to increased stress and decreased motivation.

The pandemic has desensitized us to be constantly available even when isolated. There is no break; even if we are not in class or at work, we are responding to emails or doing our homework. It literally never stops. Most of us have adopted routines that require us to work from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep. It’s incredibly exhausting, especially when our 40s have gotten us so used to being alone. When Mercyhurst first went live in 2020, professors understood the situation and the challenges that came with it very well. This is our first semester entirely in person since fall 2019. Since this was what was previously normal protocol, it is treated as such. But this is no longer normal. I have heard from so many friends who have expressed how submerged they have been in crowded, still classrooms for an hour. We’ve all gotten so used to living online that going back to the old ways is incredibly anxiety-provoking.

We are all exhausted from nearly two years of a seemingly endless pandemic that has changed the entire world as any of us have ever known. Some of our most crucial formative years have been eclipsed by 40s and will likely soon be followed by a recession. I understand that we have almost two years to adapt to the pandemic. But why do we act like this is all normal? Why do we act as though working so hard ourselves during an active pandemic is not only normal but expected? The focus on mental health in this country has long been sorely lacking, but it’s honestly unreal.

College is supposed to be the time of your life; very few of us can actually say this turns out to be true in our own lives. We have lost so much to the pandemic that our generation in particular can never replace. The worst part is that we will never know what these lost things are or how things could have been different. I’m not saying everything should be a piece of cake and we should just be graduating; I’m saying the way we operate now is unsustainable. We need to make a change, and our campus is a good place to start.

Professors, I understand that you have to give work to the students, there is no way around that. Please be aware of the situation we find ourselves in outside of the classroom. Be aware of delays and unnecessary tasks. If we do nothing, mental health on campus will continue to delegate. We need to fix this problem before it gets past the repair stage. The mental health of our students should be a major concern of administration, and they should take proactive steps to treat it as such.

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