COVID-19 pandemic and Stay-at-home order have been affecting people’s mental health

Counseling and Psychological Services located in Eastman Hall. Photo credit: Tim Speier

With many states having their own Stay-at-home orders for the past three months, people have had their lives take on major changes. Job losses and social distancing have been the major changes happening that are affecting people’s mental health.

Individuals who have a history of mental health issues are more likely to be affected during the Stay-at-home orders. “Being in self isolation people who have a history of cycles of depressive episodes can face more of them during this time.” said St. Cloud State’s Director of Counseling and Psychological Services John Eggers, PhD LP,  besides just depressive episodes people have more anxiety due to the unknown of what is going on. 

Stay-at-home orders and job loss because of the pandemic have changed a lot of people’s everyday life which can cause people to have a different mentality. Eggers suggests people make a schedule for their days, like getting up at a certain time and set times to work or do activities around the house in order to keep a sense of a schedule people are used to having. That helps keep anxiety and depression lower. Eggers also stated people should try keeping in contact with friends and family by calling or video chatting with them to help everyone not feel as isolated or alone.

St. Cloud State University’s healthy huskies program is a health resource on campus that connects students in order to help each other have a healthy life and bring awareness to health and wellness. Before COVID-19 healthy huskies did activities around campus that incorporated fun activities and learning about different topics from mental health to learning about alcohol.

Since social distancing recommendations and closing of gathering places the Healthy Huskies program and Health Services at SCSU has been taking precautions in order to still meet the needs of the university’s students. Erica Karger-Gatzow, Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Marketing, said “ Our peer wellness coaches are hosting meetings on zoom twice a week  on Mondays at 2:30 and Wednesdays at 10: 30 for students to go on to check base and talk with people about what is going on and how they are doing.”  Karger- Gatzoq also stated the clinic on campus is taking calls from students before they come in to decrease contact with people. 

The CDC has not released a statement saying during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and Stay-at-home orders that there has been any increase of suicide rates. They have made a web page with information and helpful tips for people to read in order for them to help them as well as others with their mental health.

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