Upon returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri State offers students multiple different learning formats, ranging from in-person classes, hybrid classes, to fully online classes. Some students are not comfortable attending seated classes, yet their classes are still in person, which is causing some battles with their mental health.
Elizabeth Moore, senior interior design major, is currently taking all but one of her classes online.
“Being back at school has both been helpful and detrimental to my mental health,” said Moore. “It’s been helpful because I have something to do everyday but detrimental because I'm constantly worried about getting sick or getting others sick. I'm very concerned with my safety being on campus.”
Anthony Franklin, mental health clinician at Missouri State’s counseling center, said people are having to make adjustments from the norm such as social distancing, which can have an impact on their mental health.
“I do not believe there are new problems that are coming up, but there are just greater chances of an increase in anxiety due to not knowing what's to come with the frequent changes occurring, depression due to a worldwide pandemic and feeling isolated due to social distancing. Not being able to have normal social interaction can be a challenge for some students,” said Franklin.
Despite students being worried about attending classes, they are still needing reasons to leave the confinements of their dorm rooms.
“It's helped more to be on campus for sure,” said Olivia Jackson, sophomore wildlife biology major. “As someone living in the dorms, I'm less concerned with my personal safety and more of being put in quarantine.”
Franklin shared that despite students possibly being worried about attending classes, being able to be on campus might help some students.
“I actually believe students have been motivated to get back on campus and attend classes,” said Franklin. “I believe it gives them the sense of gaining some normalcy since this pandemic occurred.”
Students living in the dorms are experiencing even more restrictions when it comes to socializing.
“The only people allowed in the halls are other people from your dorm. They're calling it 27/0,” said Jackson. “I'm in (Freudenberger House), and I cannot have my friends from Wells (House) over to my room or anywhere beyond the Freddy lobby, despite the fact we are in the same classes. (We) can just meet in the library or literally anywhere else on campus, unmasked even.”
While Missouri State is doing their best to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic, some feel that there isn’t enough being done for students.
“As for MSU helping with mental health, they need to give more accommodations to those who have their disability accommodations set up,” said Moore. “I have mine set up because my depression gets pretty bad, but all my professors do is the bare minimum legal requirement.
Franklin recommends students talk to their professors if they have concerns, to see if accommodations can be made within the department.
Missouri State’s counseling center is offering virtual counseling sessions for students through Zoom, according to Franklin. Students can make an appointment by calling the counseling center at 417-836-5116, or by email at email@example.com