How virtual learning has affected the mental health of students


Emma Iswarienko

Many students have been using Zoom for the past school year.

For the past couple of months, students and teachers alike have been on Zoom calls for most of their days. Sitting in front of a computer all day can be taxing on mental health. On the other hand, the online environment can also help students who may get anxious in public places or those who have an anxiety disorder.

“Being on Zoom, it’s really stressful because you can’t talk to other people like you would be able to in the classroom. You don’t really have a problem with keeping everyone quiet because nobody talks besides the teacher. There’s no communication with anyone outside the teacher. It’s really hard to make friends. It’s really hard to connect with everyone, and it’s really stressful,” sophomore Bella Neisius said.

Finding friends is proving to be tough in the online school environment. For freshmen students, it can be a lot harder to connect with their peers and teachers since some have only spent around four days in person with their teachers and peers. 

“The hardest thing is that I’m really detached from people. It just feels like I’m watching a video instead of being in a group of people. In school, there’s people that I can talk to. If I have a question, I feel more comfortable raising my hand to ask the teacher [a] question. [On] Zoom, I can’t talk to people, and I’m more self-conscious about what I say,” freshman Haley Bostrom said. 

The hardest thing is that I’m really detached from people. It just feels like I’m watching a video instead of being in a group of people.”

— freshman Haley Bostrom

According to Workplace Ergonomics & Health and Safety Software Specialists, taking breaks from looking at screens is important. 

“I try to take a big break in between the end of class and then starting my homework. So [at the] end class at around 1 p.m. or 2 p.m., I’ll wait until probably closer to dinner time to start working on my homework, so that I have time to not do something related to school,” Bostrom said. 

For students who have anxiety-related mental illnesses, online school can be a big help with calming the stress that comes with going to school. 

“I have many students that are excelling. Some of my students that have anxiety disorders and things of that nature really don’t like coming to school because the anxiety goes through the roof when they’re in the classroom with other kids or in the halls. So those students are excelling over Zoom,” Special School District clinical social worker Melissa Springer said.

Online schooling has brought some positives for students who struggle with school phobia or anxiety disorders that affects communication with teachers or other students. 

“Some students may have benefited from virtual learning [such as] students with anxiety disorders, others have really struggled. Many students have expressed feeling isolated and disconnected, seeking interaction with both peers and adults,” Springer said. 

Springer encourages students to reach out to trusted adults, as having someone to talk to about problems is very important. 

“Everyone is dealing with something. How we cope and learn is unique to each individual, and their support system, relationships and circumstances have a direct impact. Relationships and connections are essential whether we are learning virtually or in-person,” Springer said.