#childsafety | 17 College Mental Health Struggles Students Are Facing Right Now

If you have the same thoughts, please don’t beat yourself up. When you compare your grief and minimize your own experience, you invalidate it, which in turn makes it harder to get through. All grief is real and you’re allowed to name it, feel it, and process it. As grief expert David Kessler says, “The worst loss is always your loss.”

10. You’re more content than usual—and maybe guilty about it.

There is a group of students who have, in many ways, felt better than usual during the pandemic. Some of them are more introverted or have social anxiety, and as a result, they’ve felt better with less of the social life demands of college. Doris Iarovici, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Mental Health Issues and the University Student, points out that sometimes these students can also feel guilty when they know how much others have struggled.

Others have used the time during the pandemic to practice true self-care and prioritize themselves. Dr. Morris notes that some have reflected on their interests and chosen to pursue other career paths, some have slept better, and others have taken up new hobbies. Without so much pressure—to socialize, to succeed, to do—you might have a chance to really reflect on what you actually like and want to do. If you’ve never had the time to pause and check in with your feelings before, this opportunity might be a small silver lining or comfort right now.

11. You’re unable to concentrate or get as much done as you used to.

Pretty much every part of the pandemic has the capacity to impact our ability to concentrate, such as sleep hygiene, diet, exercise, substance use, our employment and financial situations, our schedules and environments, and access to social support. Not to mention, mood, anxiety, and certain mental health conditions like ADHD can factor in as well.

With so many potential causes, it can be difficult to know the exact source of your concentration and productivity struggles, but it is critically important to give yourself grace to do less during this time and try to accept that is going to happen. You might even consider adjusting your course load if you can by taking different or fewer classes. “I have a number of students who are extremely high-achieving and I help them recognize that just because you can do everything doesn’t mean you should do everything,” Kevin Simon, M.D., senior child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at Harvard Medical School, tells SELF.

12. You’re upset with friends who have conflicting views.

While college is often a time to experience open conversation and new points of view, it’s not surprising that many students are worried about their friend groups feeling polarized lately. This pandemic has been rife with opposing opinions regarding anything from face masks to social distancing. Many of my patients have expressed embarrassment that they are worried when their friends aren’t or frustration that their friends don’t abide by best safety practices.

It might be helpful to remember that everyone comes from extremely different experiences and to approach disagreements from a place of compassion. “People who don’t know anyone who has had a serious issue with COVID-19 often find it hard to take this disease seriously,” Jill Grimes, M.D., family physician and author of The ULTIMATE College Student Health Handbook, tells SELF. “Add in regional or political bias, and it multiplies.”

If you’re dealing with something similar, you might find this guide on how to deal when you and your loved ones disagree about social distancing helpful. That said, college is also a great time to find friends who share your core values. If a friend’s opinions around COVID-19 and the pandemic highlight larger differences—or frankly, if the friendship has started to make you feel bad—Dr. Grimes says you can try to empower yourself to walk away.

13. You’re fearing judgment about your own decisions.

On the other hand, you might be exploring whether or not you can safely have in-person social interaction and might even be considering certain risks to get your social fix. You wouldn’t be alone, according to therapist Brit Barkholtz, M.S.W., L.G.S.W. For example, some of her students are creating COVID-19 pods where they commit to a mutual level of isolation in order to interact with each other.

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