Managing mental health while in isolation

Maren VanOsdol '22, Staff Writer

In the span of less than a week, the lives of students have been turned upside down in many unpredictable ways. Despite the school closing and the continuing of learning, South’s psychiatric staff is offering help to students while at home.
“South counselors are also available, feel free to email them to connect. Our school social worker and I, school psychologist, are also working and available to students, staff and parents. South administration and building maintenance people are also continuing to work hard to keep up with the changes the COVID-19 closure is throwing at us,” according to Lisa Khoury, School psychologist.
There are multiple ways South students can contact counselors outside of school to get help.
“Counselors are available during their office hours, and regularly check and respond to emails from students, parents, teachers, etc. We can talk on the phone, join a google hangout, and support you in whatever you need help with–be that academic or emotional,” according to counselor Aja Perales.
The COVID-19 cancelation is causing much stress among students, with constant uncertainty with the credibility of online school credit, nobody knows what to expect next.
“I’m worried about a lot of kids because this is such a big change, people’s jobs, their sports, are all shut down, everything is shut down. It’s a difficult time for everyone,” said Megan Rabaut ’21, president of Wellness Club.
In this situation the best thing to do is have some form of structure in your life. It’s hard when someone is not in a school environment, but being at home presents an opportunity to work on your own time.
“ The nice thing is that (within reason) we can make our own schedule, which is empowering when everything is changing around us. Students can create their day, based on their own preferences, be that working later in the morning, or early risers can get going right away. Create what you feel will help you be successful. And try a few different ways/things. It’s going to be a process and a learning opportunity in identifying what you need and want. Give yourself grace as you figure out what will work best for you,” said Khoury.
Rabaut also provided some ways to stay on track this month, between bullet journaling, working out, and making earrings, Rabaut has been staying relatively busy.
“Getting on a schedule is important, a member of Wellness Club started bullet journaling, Mrs. Dunham made a calendar for the month to help with homework and plan out things to do for the month ahead. People are trying to find activities around the house. A lot of people are cleaning, getting extra sleep, and finding new hobbies. Someone sent an in-home workout routine to the Wellness Club group chat as well. I have been making earrings as well.” according to Rabaut.
Vice president of Wellness Club, Sophie Hugh ’21, has taken up a hobby to pass time during this social distancing period.
“It’s hard for me to stay home by myself, but I’m trying to make an at-home routine. Wake up, do chores, do school, but then I make time to do something artistic,” Hugh said. “I’ve been trying to figure out embroidery. I’m not very good, but it’s a lot of fun.”
With some students, school is often an escape from a difficult home life, and not being able to see friends or get out of the house as much could lead to a struggle with mental health, according to Perales.
“It can be lonely, which is why it is important to reach out to others. Also sometimes it might be difficult to not have that in person class time with your teacher,” Perales said. “They are all working really hard to make sure that you are getting work, understanding and are being supported. Reach out to them, they want to help.”