Mental Health and Remote Learning’s Issues


“Frustration” flickr photo by Peter Alfred Hess shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

It’s no secret to anyone that last year has been incredibly wearing on everyone’s psyche.

Australia caught on fire, the world has been hit with the worst plague in human history, WWIII almost started two times in two months, and the debacle of the U.S election.

All of these events are a lot to take in just one year, especially if you have only been on this planet for eighteen of those.

Since quarantine started, there has been a rise in mental health issues due to the forced quarantine caused by the Coronavirus’s high infectivity. This left many individuals socially isolated, and in some cases, secluded from the outside world.

While people of all ages are affected by the virus, both physically and mentally, children and adolescents are affected by the pandemic differently than adults.

According to high school counselor Ms. Tomaz, “There has been an increase in mental health issues in adolescents due to them feeling isolated and not being allowed to be with friends, I think that it helps that adolescents can use technology to communicate but there are connections between technology and anxiety/depression.”

Last summer, students in Hopkinton had two choices on what type of learning they wanted to receive, remote or hybrid, with the former being the safer contact-wise and the latter being the more interactive.

However, issues are evident in both, especially remote learning.

One of the inherent problems with remote learning is communication or lack thereof.

Communication between student and teacher is crucial for learning, especially if done fully digitally as certain technological issues can prevent one from even participating in the class at all.

The communication issues become even deeper when considering how the teacher might not be in the same town, state, or country as the student. The time they respond to emails and messages differ greatly.

What is even more challenging is that if a student is assigned a group project with kids from different time zones, coordinating meetups is a lot more difficult.

Some are under the impression that remote learning is easier and less stressful than hybrid learning as it is from home rather than at school and it gives more freedom to the student than they would have at highschool, and while the latter is true the former is anything but.

When asked if remote learning is a reasonable cause of stress, Ms. Tomaz replied “Yes I think on top of schoolwork students have to do, teaching styles students have to adjust to and different levels of classes then developing two different schedules that alternate every single day is extremely challenging. This would be hard for any adult to do so when you are thinking about adolescents where their brains arent fully developed, it can impact the executive functioning skills creating chaos, anxiety, and stress.”

Emotional dysregulation is the psychological term attributed to this feeling and can severely affect your functionality as an individual.

This feeling can be very overwhelming at times and can create an endless spiral of despair and hopelessness.

If you ever experience feelings that you have trouble regulating, consider calling one of the hotlines listed below:

Crisis Text Line: text BUDDY to 741-741 (for free 24/7 support)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Project (for LGBTQ+ youth): 1-866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
Teen Line: 310-855-4673 or TEXT TEEN to 839863