Counseling Department deals with COVID-related student stress


Lavnatalia, Pixabay

Mental health issues for students have spiked across the country as COVID-19 case numbers increase.

Jackie Lonsway, Guest Writer

As the cases of COVID-19 rise, many students admit to feeling not only the familiar stress of school but anxiety for what the future holds.

In the counseling department, Mia Bourdakos has noticed the rise in anxiety. She said, “The unpredictability of a given day is stressful enough let alone adding in the loss of contact, anxiety, a global pandemic that is clearly worsening, and school stressors.”

Bourdakos has been working to meet with sophomore students, despite remote learning. She said, “We have been far more flexible with working with kids–many times outside of the confines of the regular school day. For example, [we are] going to homes and doing visits there and talking to kids and families on weekends.”

Sophomore Jillian Gambino admits she’s also felt the stress of COVID-19. Gambino said, “During a normal school year the load of work is stressful, but with the pandemic, everything just feels much more difficult. It’s a hard time and there’s constantly more news. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what-ifs.”

Students had many varying views on Covid changing their way of learning. “Some kids who are entrenched in social issues, anxiety, or other not so great moments at school, found some relief to be home and away from the fray here. Others, and a larger majority, are down and miss the whole experience with school,” Bourdakos said.

In addition to Gambino, sophomore Chloe Delisio has experienced the anxiety this situation has created. Delisio said, “When I’m at home I’m less motivated to get schoolwork done which makes me anxious that I’ll get behind. There’s also new worries about the pandemic and the safety of leaving home which just makes everything more difficult.”

To help students, Bourdakos said she approaches each student differently depending on their needs. She said, “We usually meet and talk it over and come up with strategies. If I feel that it is out of my scope of expertise, I will refer out to a mental health specialist.”

Delisio has appreciated Bourdakos’s compassion during this time. “Whenever I approach Mrs. Bourdakos with a worry she seems really nice and willing to help. Knowing she’s there makes things feel a little less stressful,” Delisio said.

While COVID-19 has impacted mental health, Gambino encourages other students to see their school counselors to ease the process. “I think a lot of kids think that counselors really can’t do much, but during a pandemic, it’s really important to talk to someone about what’s happening,” Gambino said. “I know that anytime I’m feeling worried or anxious, I can send an email to a counselor.”