As March rolls around again, we’ve spent almost an entire year in quarantine and social isolation. Within that year, 25.5% of people ages 18 to 24 have seriously considered suicide, a 14.8% increase from 2018. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via The Washington Post)
There’s no doubt that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it an increase in mental health problems. One solid solution to relieving feelings of depression and anxiety: social interaction — the thing we’re supposed to limit as much as possible right now.
Remote learning hasn’t made things any easier on us students either. Everything we do is essentially homework, and the due dates never stop coming. Weekends don’t feel like breaks anymore.
Every time one of my teachers asks if our class did anything fun over the weekend, I struggle to come up with anything.
I spend my weekends tapping through Snapchat stories of some peers out maskless with their friends most likely contributing to the increase of the current 29.1 million COVID case rate.
But then I text my close friends and they’re not even allowed to go outside, so together we watch our mental health falter within the confines of our own homes.
With all that said, we should still be encouraged to go outside and meet up with our peers.
It’s a bit extreme to be holed up inside 24/7. However, that’s still significantly better than hanging out with someone different each week and not wearing masks.
With proper social distancing guidelines followed, there shouldn’t be much harm when hanging out with the same few friends, especially when you’re all double-masked the whole time.
Sometimes I feel guilty for going out when I know half a million people in the U.S. have died from COVID so far.
I don’t want to be part of the reason why someone loses a loved one, but I also need a hug from a friend for the sake of my sanity.
As such, I never set foot outside without a mask on and meet up with the same two friends every few weeks. This is the balance between maintaining my mental health and having human decency during a pandemic.
It’s important to remember that even though we’re under these restrictive circumstances, we can still stay connected with one another.
Discord calls can only do so much, which is why I’d argue the occasional boba run with a friend is necessary.
Point is, students should be able to hang out with each other without feeling guilty as long as they’re maintaining social distancing guidelines and regulating their outings.