COVID-19: causing mental illness, yet creating a more physically active community


Door after door closed starting March 17 when Gov. Polis ordered restaurants, theaters, gyms and more public places to close due to the spread of the Coronavirus in Colorado. Due to the closure of these businesses, many A-West students were being affected both mentally and physically.

In a poll conducted on Instagram, one hundred and three students were asked whether they felt that their mental and physical health was being affected due to the closure of public places. In total, 77% of students responded saying that they did feel like their mental and physical health was being affected, whereas 23% said they felt no change to their mental and physical being. 

The students that responded mentioning that they did feel a change were then asked how their mental and physical state were being affected. 

Junior Emilio Delgado said that his mental state feels “a lack of motivation. I don’t feel accomplished anymore. There are no challenges keeping me busy.”

In regards to why many students may be experiencing a lack of motivation and accomplishment, as Staff Writer Louise Masakis mentions in Wired magazine, “To make matters worse, you don’t have much control over the situation, which often makes people anxious, says Anu Asnaani, a clinical psychologist at the University of Utah specializing in fear-based disorders. No one knows when the pandemic will be over or when things will be back to normal, which can be maddening.”

The idea that the Coronavirus is completely uncontrollable is what makes many people fearful as mentioned by Asnaani. Many students mentioned that they are experiencing an increase in anxiety, loneliness, and lack of motivation. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness points out that there will be an increase in mental instability: “The coronavirus can significantly affect mental health for everyone, but especially for those with mental illness. Both the anxiety of contracting the disease as well as the increase in loneliness and isolation can worsen and trigger symptoms.”

Due to the information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the fact that many students are experiencing loneliness and anxiety is to be expected from the effects of the Coronavirus. 

In contrast to many students experiencing a decrease in mental state, it appears that most students’ physical state is benefiting from the closure of public places. 

Senior Ella Crust added, “I have been getting a healthy amount of sleep finally! This allows me to properly deal with my emotions and fears.”

In addition to Crust’s response to her improvement in physical health, many other A-West students mentioned that they felt as if they were going outside more and that it was easier for them to manage a proper workout routine at home. 

The closure of public places has caused many A-West students to feel their mental health start to slip, yet students are also starting to feel their physical health improve. Although there may be negative implications to isolation, there are also positives since the overall physical health of students seems to be improving.