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Kutztown University Students Face Pandemic Related Mental Health Struggles

By Madeline Poulton
Contributing Writer

KUTZTOWN, PA- Online learning, isolation and social distancing during the pandemic have been a struggle for students, including those at KU, causing many to grapple with their mental health more than ever before. 

Due to this, an increased number of students have been attending KU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, located within the Health and Wellness Center, in order to get guidance on how to cope with the stresses of an on-going pandemic. 

Because of the increase in students needing these services, the counseling center has had to adjust to telehealth services. Counselors have set up Zoom Health teleconferencing in order to have video sessions with patients and revised their various services to fit the telehealth format. 

Credit: Madeline Poulton

“We have seen more students seeking services specifically for pandemic-related distress, such as loneliness and social isolation, difficulties with online learning, struggles with motivation for school and other activities, financial concerns and health concerns (self and others),” said Dr. Bruce Sharkin of KU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. 

Although students have always had to deal with stresses in college, the COVID-19 pandemic has added stresses to their lives that many may not have ever thought would occur. 

“I get very frustrated and stressed about my future because I feel as though I’m not learning anything with classes being online,” said Piper Glattacker, a sophomore at KU. 

“Students have a heightened stress level because of the abrupt changes that the pandemic has brought about. The pandemic has also brought about a sense of uncertainty as the ‘normal’ day-to-day operations of the college education experience shifted in a matter of days,” said Paige Brookins, an assistant dean in the College of Business. 

KU’s Counseling and Psychological Services have put together a COVID support group to help students with pandemic related stressors in particular. This group helps students by teaching mindfulness and stress management techniques. 

“The group offers students an opportunity to learn ways to practice self-care and receive support from other students in a therapeutic setting,” said Sharkin. 

According to Sharkin and KU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, the following list includes a few ways that students can cope with mental health struggles during the pandemic: 

  • Practicing self care
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Staying connected with family friends
  • Attending COVID support groups 
  • Participating in counseling services for those who need additional help

If you are a KU student struggling with your mental well-being due to the pandemic, do not hesitate to try these self care tips or to reach out to the counseling center at KU to learn more about their services and what they can do to help.

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