What is Mental Health?

 It should be simple to answer this question, right? Mental health is something we are all aware of, but do we truly understand what mental health means or influences in our lives. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC, 2021) mental health is a culmination of a person’s emotional, social, and psychological health in one. Because of this, mental health determines the way that we reason, deal with stress, and overall make choices in our life. Outside factors play a heavy role in the decline of mental health for many people. 

 Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a negative impact on the nation’s mental health. Constant news of increasing infection rates and death rates amongst vulnerable people like our elderly and immunocompromised citizens created a fear for individuals’ health and their loved ones’ (Son et al., 2020). One demographic particularly affected by this are young college students. The decline of mental health for students in college has become a growing concern.  Of a survey done on students in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, 71% of students acknowledged more stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 So, to cope with the stress and anxiety brought on by COVID-19, what do these college students do to cope? Some students found themselves in more negative approaches such as sleeping longer, ignoring any news of the pandemic, and drinking or smoking to cope. Whereas, almost 70% found themselves implementing positive coping mechanisms such as self-management through meditation and breathing, relaxing hobbies, and watching more streaming content to better adapt to the new environment (Lattie et al., 2019). Following these positive coping methods that helped even such a vulnerable group could help many others as well. 

Mental health is such an important aspect of our lives that helps us function in this complicated world. Everyone is different, but we certainly could use each other’s help in figuring out how to navigate difficult situations as they arise and protect our overall mental well-being.

One big factor of mental health is stress. Listen to our podcast below to see how stress can impact you.

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References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 28). About mental health. Centers for 

Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm

Lattie, Adkins, E.C., Winquist, N., Stiles-Shields, C., Wafford, Q.E., & Graham, A.K. (2019).  

Digital mental health interventions for Depression, anxiety, and enhancement of psychological well-being among college students: Systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(7), e12869-e12869. https://doi.org/10.2196.12869

Son, Hegde, S., Smith, A., Wang, X., & Sasangohard, F. (2020). Effects of Covid-19 on college

students' mental health in the United States: Interview survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(9), e21279-e21279. https://doi.org/10.2196/21279

Yaribeygi, H., Panahi, Y., Sahraei, H., Johnston, T. P., & Sahebkar, A. (2017). The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI journal, 16, 1057–1072. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2017-480