Measuring Mental Health: Our Own Experts Address the Data

Audio and Written Feature by Aiyan L., Concordia Applied Journalism

     As part of a professional project, Dr Rizzo, Concordia's        Athletic Trainer, has been gathering data on student              anxiety and depression. (image: Aiyan L., Concordia              Applied Journalism)

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely been a trying time for us all and levels of anxiety have been on the upward trend. In the Concordia community, Dr. Jennifer Rizzo, our school’s athletic trainer and wellness coordinator recently completed a study looking at the anxiety levels in our high school students. Specifically, she considered students in this highly unusual year as they returned to school and participated in co-circulars such as preforming arts and sports. Dr. Rizzo says that her findings suggested that, “students were definitely high in anxiety and high in depression levels going into the academic year.”

Is this consistent with the trend around the world? What can we do to ease these anxiety levels? In search of some answers to these questions, the community can look towards our school’s psychologist Dr. Alice Fok-Trela.

Concordia's school psychologist, Dr. Alice Fok-Trela offers data which agrees with that of Dr. Rizzo. (image: Aiyan L., Concordia Applied Journalism) 

Dr. Alice explains that, “in a normal year, pre-COVID, about 11% of the population reported feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression and during the US Census, which was done in May 2020, they found that 33.9% of the US population was reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression.” Therefore, it is clear that all around the world the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a drastic increase in anxiety and depression, and our community is not excluded from this increase.

“I think there is a lot of uncertainty involved,” explains Dr. Alice. “There is a lot of fear. Because as soon as you step out of the house you don’t know if you are going to get sick […] and that stress probably is taxing a lot of the normal persons coping resources.”

If you are one of the many people feeling especially anxious, stressed, or depressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Alice Fok-Trela has some advice on how to help ease this anxiety: “Focus on self-care as much as possible, however self-care looks for you,” she says. “Fill your life with things that create meaning and create joy. You want to maintain a routine as much as possible. You want to maintain stability.”

 


Aiyan L. is a student of Concordia Applied Journalism