COVID-19’s Negative Impact on Mental Health


Senior Cleo Zagurski shows how she has coped with mental health during this pandemic by going on walks outside.

Lexie Worden & Liv Mossage

The spread of COVID-19 has brought lots of change to the ways many live. With an increase in cases, businesses were forced to shut down, employees were laid off from their jobs and social events and gatherings were either postponed or canceled. There was and still is a lot of uncertainty to when the world will go back to normal.

The rapid change from being able to go to the grocery store without fear of catching a virus to social isolation from friends, family, workplaces and even schools has taken a toll on many adults, teenagers and even children.

A report from the CDC found that 41% of adults tested in late June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition and found that compared to data from 2018, approximately twice as many Americans reported serious consideration of suicide.  

Concern for mental health has been a global issue during this current pandemic. Teenagers are the main age group that have been distinctly impacted. Routines of going to school Monday-Friday and hanging out with friends during the weekend were disrupted and the rapid spread of COVID-19 shut down the world.

Cleo Zagurski, senior at Burke, has been one of the several others who has experienced the effects that COVID has had on our mental health.

“I have experienced a mixture of anxiety and depression at increased rates throughout the last six months. Reading news articles kept me informed but they also caused me to grow anxious. I would worry about myself or a loved one contracting COVID and not surviving,” Zagurski said.  “Seeing the carelessness of my peers made me angry and upset because a part of me wanted to be out and spending time with them, but the greater half of me knew that it was unsafe and irresponsible.”

These struggles tend to be heightened for those who have don’t have a solid relationship with their family members. Being in a household with people you don’t have a positive relationship with can negatively impact these feelings of anxiety and depression.

“I share a room with my sister and being around family members 24/7 without privacy is very stressing,” sophomore Leia Hain said.

With more free time many people developed new habits and everyday changes in their life to better their mental health. Many people exercised daily, practiced self-affirmations and bettered their self-care habits.

“I have become an avid walker. I would go on four-mile walks everyday so that I could leave my house in a safe manner. I socially distanced while on walking trails. I would listen to podcasts and music as a means of escapism,” Zagurski said.

Others managed their mental health in different ways, such as binge-watching TV shows and movies on Netflix.

“I watched the show The Walking Dead over again and talked to my friends on the phone,” Hain said.

Many people have adapted to these changes in different ways. For some it has taken longer, and others have grown used to these changes such as working and doing school from home much quicker.

“Having to adapt to the quick changes made me feel incredibly overwhelmed. I have not adapted completely to these changes, but I work on being flexible every day,” Zagurski said.

Even with all of the uncertainty that this pandemic has given many teenagers, many still have hope for what the future will look like.

“I just got used to it. I don’t like it, but I can’t change it. I just know one day it will be better and that’s what I think about,” Hain said.