The Unexpected Mental Health Crisis


Chloe Petradelis, Journalist


In a time when our country is divided on numerous issues, we can all probably agree that Covid has thrown a curveball at our education. Starting in the year of 2020, we heard about the Coronavirus that initiated and spread within China. The news informed us that this disease is deadly and currently spreading to other parts of the country. We didn’t think anything of it at the time, until the second week of March. It was Thursday the 12th of 2020 when the Ipswich Public School System announced to all parents that there was no school that day and the day after, due to Covid precautions. We all just thought it was a two day thing and that we would be heading back to school the following week. However, that is not what happened.

The next two weeks, we had no school. It was basically a mini vacation. After those two weeks, the school system decided and agreed on continuing classes over Zoom, due to a mass shutdown that required us to quarantine. “It was definitely a tough and stressful time,” said Gabby Ramasci, a senior at Ipswich High School, “but I felt I would do whatever needed to be done, masking, social distancing, vaccinations in order to keep everyone safe.” The hardest thing for the students to accomplish in the beginning of the quarantine was probably the schoolwork and checking in with our classes over Zoom. We were not used to being trapped in our houses all the time, with our parents and siblings. We all went “a little bonkers with the whole family together,” said Gabby Ramasci, but it was a whole new experience for everyone. We got to have some good laughs together and create memories that may not have happened if we were not stuck in the house together.

Starting off the school year in the fall of 2020, the Ipswich Public School System gave parents the option to keep their children fully remote or have them participate in the hybrid learning model, which would involve being physically in the building for half the week and at home for the other half. The majority of students went back to school doing the hybrid model, but a good handful chose to stay fully remote, as I did. As students, we became used to doing our school work on the computer everyday, that now, the excessive use of technology doesn’t bother us.

Covid has had an effect on the students’ mental health and behavior. According to Ms. Ryan, the Ipswich High School Adjustment Counselor, students’ behavioral actions change in the way that they “have this hesitation to deal with things” and it feels that it is becoming “much more intense now. We are overthinking a lot of social aspects of our lives, which makes sense since we were locked away for six to nine months.” Being in quarantine for so long has caused people to lose their social skills. Ms. Ryan also said, “I’m finding I’m spending more time with students. Students I saw for 5 to 10 minute check-ins are now 15 to 20 minute check-ins.” Students are building up so many unnecessary stresses within their mind and they don’t know how to deal with all of it. The stress is taking over the way students interact with each other and how they do certain things.

According to Mr. Mitchell, the Ipswich High School Principal, he has also seen some behavioral changes among students. He says “It’s almost like we have two freshman classes right now since the current sophomores didn’t have a full and regular school year last year that would have allowed them to get accustomed to the way we do things here.” He also stated that the “devious licks” trend was a result of the changes in students’ behavior. Since students couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything, they spent the majority of their time watching Tiktoks, which is where the “devious licks” trend came from. This trend caused people to destroy their schools’ property. They would go into the bathrooms and rip the soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers off the walls and try to flush them down the toilets. This is a result of how social media can corrupt others into doing things that aren’t meant to be done.

As the current school year approaches the halfway mark, students are dealing with lots of stress including school, college, work, and extracurricular activities. Students are told to relieve that stress by talking to friends, talking to family, talking to a teacher or a guidance counselor, playing an instrument, playing a sport, etc. Students have lots of resources that are available to them to use if they need it.