Featured Image

The Importance of Mental Health in a COVID-19 World

It seems the global pandemic isn't ending anytime soon, so prioritizing your mental health is a must to continue on with our lives. Here's how you can do so.

With COVID-19 affecting every aspect of life, there is (and should be) a renewed focus on mental health. The CDC acknowledges that living in a pandemic adds new stress to a person’s life, which can affect existing mental and physical health conditions as well as create new problems. And while a lot of people in the working world are struggling, students and new graduates are also facing a whole host of trials between their jobs, education, and big life transitions.

The struggles students face

Asia Wong, Director of Counseling and Health Services at Loyola University New Orleans, notes some of the ways the virus has manifested stress. “For people directly impacted (those who’ve gotten sick or have family members who’ve been ill), it’s been a very difficult time,” Wong says. But “there’s a big disconnect between an individual’s personal experience of the virus and the cultural zeitgeist around ‘keeping busy at home,’ she adds. “For individuals not directly impacted [by coronavirus], loneliness, boredom, anxiety, and depression are all significant concerns.”

For students, this stress has also manifested itself as fear and uncertainty as schools—colleges and high schools alike—have finally begun to announce plans for the fall 2020 semester. Even with the stress of classes going online this past spring, Wong says those classes provided structure to students’ lives. Now, students are scrambling to find that structure again. For many high school and college students, the summer has consisted of social media, Zoom, and FaceTime in an attempt to replicate the in-person interactions they had before. The fall semester will likely fall into much of the same virtual socialization, leading to another common fear: what will a student’s way of life outside of the classroom look like?

Loyola University New Orleans and many other schools have announced plans to conduct hybrid instruction, with some classes being completely online and others taught partially in person following social distancing guidelines. But as news about the pandemic continues to develop, these concerns and major decisions are still up in the air for many schools and individuals.

Related: Changing College Plans Amid COVID-19

Ways to care for your mental health

With all these new stressors, mental health has remained a constant topic during quarantine, and it needs to be something students continue to prioritize. Here are some ways to manage your mental health as social distancing continues.

Find a creative outlet

One way to process fear and anxiety is to find a way to release them. Whether that be through painting, baking, or writing, everyone should find an activity that takes their mind off their worries or provides a way to express them. With restrictions on normal pastimes that involve large groups of people, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up a new hobby like painting or having a pen pal.

Take time to breath

As Wong said, there’s been a focus on using the pandemic to stay busy and be productive. That might leave students wanting to (or feeling the pressure to) find a job or take a summer class, but it’s important for you to have time to process your emotions or talk with friends and family about them. Even something as simple as going for a walk can give students an opportunity to breathe and get a little change of environment. 

Related: COVID-19: How to Cope With Anxiety

Have a conversation

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress and concern, you should talk to a friend or family member. Verbalizing your thoughts could be all you need to get them out of your head and validate your emotions. Plus, it’s likely that whoever you decide to talk to is facing similar stress, and you can work through your feelings together. Having that first conversation will open the door for both of you, making it easier to talk through your feelings in the future.

Go to therapy

If therapy is an affordable option, now is as good a time as any to consider going. Wong recommends BetterHelp.com as a virtual therapy option, and many private practices are scheduling video or phone calls with new clients. Therapy can provide an unbiased perspective on an individual’s emotions and worries, especially when something feels overwhelming. If you decide to participate in online therapy, Wong encourages using headphones and finding a quiet place where there aren’t any distractions, like siblings or pets, for your focus and privacy.

Contact the Crisis Text Line

If you’re in need of immediate help, Wong recommends using the Crisis Text Line, which offers free 24-hour virtual support. It’s a secure platform designed to help people in a crisis reach a calmer state of mind. They have trained volunteers on standby to respond to crisis texts at all hours. Their website also has some resources and information specifically on coping with COVID-19 and isolation as well as other mental health topics. Students can reach out by texting HOME to 741741.

Relate: Mental Health: What It Is and How Students Can Find Help

Amid all the chaos of the world right now, it’s important for everyone to prioritize their health in all forms. Everyone needs to be washing their hands, wearing face masks, and practicing appropriate social distancing—but you need to focus on maintaining your mental health too. Stay safe! 

For more information on the coronavirus and how it’s affecting college, check out our COVID-19 student resources page.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

coronavirus COVID-19 mental health mindfulness student health student life

About Zia Sampson

Zia Sampson

I am currently a first-year student at Loyola University New Orleans, where I'm majoring in Mass Communications, both Strategic Communications and Journalism, and minoring in Sociology. I'm in the University Honors Program and the Social Justice Scholars Program. In my free time, I like to watch Netflix, sleep, and read. I am a big animal lover, with four cats and two dogs, and I have two older brothers and a twin sister. You can follow me on Twitter @ZiaSampson.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Wendy Thompson

Wendy Thompson

Owner, Westport Educational Consulting

I just discovered your site and LOVE it—fun, interesting, full of incredible information you can’t find anywhere else, and a godsend for those of us in the college counseling business. I am a fan!

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

Lu Diehl

Lu Diehl

High School Class of 2022

I never would have found the college I plan on attending without CollegeXpress! I've always been a person of ambition and have been dreaming of studying and working on my passion for law, legal studies, and political science. Washington College is where I plan on pursuing my career. My journey with my education has been difficult, and oftentimes, I was told I would never amount to much, but now I'm dual enrolled at Caroll Community College and have had experience in the fields I am dedicated to. Without the help of CollegeXpress (even in its early days), I would never have found Washington College and the information I need to apply and become a part of their community.

Alexandra Adriano

Alexandra Adriano

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2016

I've used CollegeXpress quite a bit as a senior, particularly for colleges and scholarships, so it's been a very big asset in that respect! I would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue a college education, especially seniors! This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in ways I couldn't have before, and I know that there are opportunities like that for everyone on the website and in the magazines!

Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin


I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.

College Matches