Social Distancing and Its Effect Upon Mental Health


Arona Islam

The Bronx Science Guidance Department currently has online office hours and events to catch up with and to support students during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, people from all across the world have been ordered to either remain at home or to use appropriate safety precautions in order to control the spread of the virus. While it is our responsibility to follow these rules, many people around the world have found that it is having a negative impact upon our mental health, myself included. Cabin fever and an increase in depression and/or anxiety are among the many things that some people may experience as a result of strict social distancing practices. Additionally, some people may not have the most comfortable living conditions or home life, which definitely makes this situation hard for them. It is important to highlight the issues that some of us are facing during these troubling times and even more importantly, to share the numerous mental health resources that are available through Bronx Science’s Guidance Department for our students. 

Some students shared their experiences with me anonymously and explained how social distancing has had a negative impact upon their mental health. They asked that their identities remained private but gave me permission to tell their stories. One student finds that practicing social distancing and staying at home makes it difficult to follow a healthy lifestyle: “Although I can make an effort to stay healthy, quarantine makes it difficult to do so.” Another student who suffers from depression also finds that the quarantine has made it more difficult to keep negative emotions in check: “[Depression] was something that I’ve dealt with in the past but had gotten under control. With quarantine, it has been harder to deal with and cope, since all of this has started.”

Students are trying many different and new activities to help to alleviate some of their stress and to keep their negative emotions in check. Isabella Vidal ‘22 said, “I engage in hobbies that I enjoy, like reading. I also find that taking time to relax when I do these hobbies each day helps me to destress.” Chancie Velasquez ’21 shares that activities such as dancing and writing have allowed her to destress and to distract herself from some of the pressure that she experiences. “I like writing a lot,” Velasquez said. “It helps me to cope during these times and allows me to release the emotions that I am experiencing during the quarantine.” To help myself cope with my negative emotions, I love making new playlists, watching Netflix shows and FaceTiming with my friends.

These are difficult times for all of us. It is our responsibility to ensure that we follow safety precautions, such as social distancing, to prevent ourselves and others from becoming infected with COVID-19. “I think it’s good to remember that, like all things, this will come to an end. Even though this feels like a lifetime, it’ll be over eventually,” Tanushri Sundaram ‘22 said.

While it is important to recognize the issues that many of us are facing right now, it is just as important to take advantage of the many resources that are available. Bronx Science’s Social Worker Ms. Heckman and all of the Guidance Counselors have virtual office hours available for appointments or drop-ins via video meetings; their schedule is posted HERE. Additionally, the Headspace app has added a free collection of guided meditations called ‘Weathering the Storm’ as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, located HERE. Another great resource that I recommend are guided yoga videos on YouTube that help to alleviate some anxiety and stress. No matter how you cope with the effects of social distancing on your mental health, it’s important to know that the Bronx Science community is here for you every step of the way!

“I think it’s good to remember that, like all things, this will come to an end. Even though this feels like a lifetime, it’ll be over eventually,” Tanushri Sundaram ‘22 said.