Teen mental health concerns in Utah

Josue Santibanez, Staff Writer

After the idea of a pandemic slowly started setting in countries, states, and cities in March of 2020, one of the groups that suffered psychologically that year was teenagers. High School students were suddenly mandated to stay at home and do online learning. No longer able to socially interact with their peers, except virtually, some of them might’ve spiraled downwards in those lonely months. Did those months have any lasting effects on us or are we just exaggerating what might’ve been an inconvenience at best? I questioned a former student of Hunter High, Kimberly, to see her views on her quarantined senior year and how she felt during that time.

First I asked, “When the first lock-down was announced, how did you feel?” She answered, “Shocked, we were thrown into online classes out of nowhere. We had no idea what would happen next.”

The next question was, “Do you think your school responded well to the virus?” She responded, “Yes, because they let us take chrome-books home. That’s good for those who didn’t have any computers available at that time and it was easy to access homework because everything switched to online. Communication with teachers and students also became easier with zoom.”

Her third question from me? “Throughout the lock-down, did your mental health change?” Her answer was, “Yes, I couldn’t grow my communication skills, I had low motivation, and I had low attention towards school. My grades also sunk compared to when I was in-person learning?”

Then, “Once the lock-down was lifted, what did you feel then?” Her response was, “Lock-down was never lifted for me. I graduated and wasn’t able to walk on the stage or spend my senior year with my friends. All because of that virus.”

My final question was, “Are you hopeful for the future, specifically the educational side?” She answered, “Honestly no, the school system hasn’t changed their methods in years. Everything stays the same and almost nothing improves. The school needs more teachers that enjoy teaching, are passionate about educating students, and are motivational to the kids they’re teaching to.”