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Stuck Indoors and Unmotivated: COVID-19’s Effect On Mental Health

Researched and reported by Magdalynn Haralampopoulos

Assembled and edited by Andy Xie

Students of East Side answered a form speaking about mental health and how it has been affected during the global pandemic, especially during the last school year.


As schools reopen for students to opt into blended learning, remote learning students’ stress levels rise with the lack of interaction from their peers. It is especially apparent when students over Zoom calls do not communicate. A bit above 25% of students have said that they have had a “great deal” of change in stress, problems, and emotions and 30% said a “moderate amount.”

While out of school due to COVID-19, 70% of students said that they used teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) skills to deal with stress. TMHFA is an in-person training that teaches students how to cope well with mental stress levels and ways to support themselves or friends who are struggling.

How are students’ mental health affected by COVID-19?

It’s extremely disheartening. I have been upstate most of the time during the Covid outbreak, so I automatically resort to a screen for entertainment. I miss having friends over and all that. - Marlowe Demisch, 9th grader

Last April and May sucked because I would see the numbers rise really quickly while I was stuck at home and I'd get worried that it would take years for this to be done with. I remember around mid-April [it] had been the first time I stepped foot outside since early March when lockdown started. My dad and I would walk my dog with our masks on and plastic gloves on at night just to be able to get a bit of fresh air and step foot outside… I really do miss going outside like I used to. Now it's kind of easier and we can return to normality but I miss just being outside without worrying about COVID. - Anonymous, 10th grader

Remote makes me unmotivated since I’m in the house all the time, and blended at least three days of in-person school gives me a break from my house and it balances out wanting to be home and in school normally. - Anonymous

[Quarantine] definitely has caused me stress. Every day I get stressed out thinking about when it's going to end and it's very frustrating when sometimes it feels like there is no end. My mental health has also been at risk many times throughout this pandemic and there have been many times where I've had to cry or breathe to pull myself back together. - Angelie Rodriguez, 10th grader

What has your share of remote learning experience been like to you?

Remote learning has honestly not been that bad for me. I have way more free time, and it's allowed me to be involved in more extracurriculars. I've also been able to kickstart my college research which is something I've been wanting to do for a while. The only negative is that there's not much consistency being in remote learning which made me get confused a lot with my routines and with my schedule. Having to be on devices all day is also pretty exhausting, but other than that it's been pretty alright for me. - Angelie Rodriguez, 10th grader

I've been remote the whole year, what's different is that it's easy to socialize but harder to keep up and focus. So many distractions come up. - Iyana Brown, 8th grader

I have only been remote. I sort of prefer remote learning at this point because I’m able to do school wherever and I’m not tied anywhere. I did school in California for an entire month. - Marlowe Demisch, 9th grader

It's actually been kind of nice because I don't have to wake up very early and I don't have to make a huge trip to school (which I did before). It's very comfortable. Right when classes end, I can do my homework and then I have the rest of the day to do what I want which is really nice. I actually like remote so much more than an in-person class, although I don't get to really interact in remote so it almost feels like it isn't school, in a way? - Anonymous, 10th grader

What activities are there that can help during this time?

My friends help me by just talking to them every day when I can. -Anonymous

I write, read, and take pictures, those things are therapeutic to me. - Iyana Brown, 8th grader

I facetime my friends, and take a pottery class on Fridays. Those things have been the highlights for me during these times. Pottery has helped me get out and be creative once in a while during the week. - Marlowe Demisch, 9th grader

My younger sister definitely helps me. We talk every day through texting since she doesn't live with me, but she always makes me laugh. Writing and reading also help me a tremendous amount. It gives me an outlet to just relax and let my mind work in a way that's not totally school work-related. - Angelie Rodriguez, 10th grader

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