Pandemic’s Mental Health Impacts Last Longer than the Virus


De An Sun/Unsplash

The stress and isolation brought on by the pandemic has left a slew of mental-health issues for people of all ages.

Katie Savulak '26, Junior Chief Advocate

WOODBURY — The Covid-19 pandemic brought in a lot of new things: new norms like wearing a mask and social distancing, new ways of communication through Zoom, Google Meet and Skype, and ensuring everyone’s safety with vaccines and boosters.

We expect all of this to come and go eventually like a seasonal Starbucks drink, but what happens if there’s something new that stays with us longer and affects us much more than something like a toilet paper shortage?

Mental health has been a continuous problem for much of the population, but during the pandemic it’s been spreading like Covid itself. Between being separated from family and friends and the ongoing stress of getting sick, there are lots of long-term effects that aren’t just physical.

Mental Health Effects

Depression, anxiety, and insomnia were already issues with our world and our minds even before the pandemic, but with the stress of a new disease going around and being separated from friends and family caused many of us to feel lonely and scared.

Some people missed the social interactions, and some might have been afraid what would happen if they catch the virus. No matter what it might be for us as individuals, it all took a toll on our mental health.

Science Direct conducted a survey for 22,330 adults that showed 36.7% had symptoms of insomnia, 25.6% had symptoms of anxiety and 23.1% had symptoms of depression. These numbers were higher than they were pre-pandemic.

We are human beings and we have emotions. When these emotions are often felt, it can turn into a larger problem. They’re something you try to get rid of, but they always survive. Something like feeling lonely as you’re gazing at faces on a screen can turn into depression.

Worrying about a few too many missing or upcoming assignments can turn into anxiety and insomnia. Woodbury Middle School eighth-grader Brynn Clampett says the pandemic caused her “a mental state where I don’t feel like getting out of bed and I am on my phone too much.”

The pandemic has made technology a huge part of our lives and has brought stress along with it. On a computer, Chromebook, or phone, it’s much harder to focus and much harder to get your work done.

“I rely on technology a lot which I don’t like,” eighth-grader Scott Viveros said.

Technology was helpful at the beginning of the pandemic, but now that we’ve figured things out, it’s taking over our lives and the way we think.

“I struggle to sleep sometimes because I get really nervous about how much I need to get done or what would happen if I got sick,” says an anonymous eighth-grade student.

Depression is the overall most common mental disorder, but in terms of what Covid has caused, anxiety has risen to the top. More people are stressed about what would happen if they got the virus. They don’t want to make others sick and they don’t want themselves to contract it, either. Insomnia branches off of anxiety. It’s the same kind of stress, thinking, and worrying except it’s keeping you awake at night. 

Social Life

Most people’s social lives were completely messed up. Friends lost touch with each other after having virtual classes for so long, and communicating through a screen just isn’t the same. Seeing them in person for the first time in a while can be stressful if you’ve lost your socialization skills after months of talking to your walls. 

“Coming back to school after a year of not seeing friends and stuff was nerve racking,” says Evan Jones, an eighth-grader.

Between masks and the fact that we were isolated in our rooms for pretty much a year was enough to weaken or completely stop a friendship. Many found they took in-person interaction with others for granted.

Eighth-grader Anna Crocker said that the pandemic “made me appreciate my social life more and want to see friends more.”

These past few chaotic years have brought everyone at least a little sense of loneliness or worry. It’s not like the pandemic was good for anyone. Everyone is dealing with something inside of their head because of this happening. It’s taken some kind of tax on us all. Even if it’s physical, it can become mental, too. 

Covid brought out the worst in all of us, as if we needed another burden all while we’re juggling homework, friends, and trying to stay healthy. This small virus has suddenly taken over the world by storm. Not just our physical bodies, but our mind, our feelings, and the way we think.