US colleges face mental health crisis amid surge in new Covid variant

2021-12-26 13:06:29
US colleges face mental health crisis amid surge in new Covid variant

Colleges across the US are facing a mental health crisis, driven in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

After almost two years of remote schooling, restricted gatherings and constant testing, many students are anxious, socially isolated, depressed, and overwhelming mental health centers, the New York Times said in a report.

At a few universities, there has been a troubling spate of suicides. Now another surgel of Covid cases, driven by the Omicron variant, threatens to make life on campus worse.

Loneliness or isolation, along with loss of motivation or focus, are among the top concerns of college students who have sought counseling during the pandemic, according to national data collected by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State.

Some administrators worry that there is a conflict between protecting students’ physical health and their mental health.

Many parents and college administrators have been troubled by an outbreak of suicides.

There have been at least two suicides connected with West Virginia University since the pandemic began. Eric Domanico, a freshman on full scholarship there, died of suicide in July 2020, soon after students were sent home in the first wave of the pandemic.

Eric was already emotionally fragile, his father, Frank Domanico, said. Remote learning was a “disaster” and he missed his friends at school.

“My son died of loneliness,” Mr. Domanico said. “He didn’t have his friends, he didn’t have his support group.” Given a choice, he said, “I would rather die of a microbe than of loneliness.”

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