Mental Health throughout the pandemic 

Lack of communication, interaction with others caused anxiety

During the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School (NP3) said they have struggled with their mental health while doing distance learning. Many say returning to in-person learning is helping to improve their mental health.

Mental health became a more prominent topic among teachers, students and school staff at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School (NP3) because of distance l Learning and COVID-19.

“It really made my mental health go down and distance learning made me very unmotivated to learn. The pandemic made me feel lonely most of the time but there were also some good times,” said a junior from NP3 High.

Staying indoors and the lack of communication and interaction with others caused a lot of anxiety, students said.

“It caused me to become really stressed and began many anxious feelings. It made me hate school and everything about it because it was no longer about having a social life, it was only about getting passing grades,” said Noah Ramos, a junior attending NP3 High.

For some, the pandemic accentuated issues they had already been dealing with.

“Staying inside, quarantined, really let me reflect on myself. I was able to just think in solitude, and that, honestly, was a red flag because I’m a pessimist so I thought the worst things about myself,” said a junior from NP3 High.

During the beginning, quarantine had a positive impact because it gave a break from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

“At first being quarantined was great for me, having a break from society was kinda refreshing,” said Itzel Castellanos, a junior attending NP3 High.

After several months of no social interaction and staying indoors, quarantine had a negative impact.

“After a couple months being away from society took a toll on my social skills and my motivation to do tasks,” said Castellanos.

Students have been doing distance learning and learning individually without interaction with other students. Distance learning had a lot of positive and negative effects.

Students began prioritizing grades and deadlines over learning the material being taught.

“We just used to do work to turn it in before the deadline. I don’t feel like I took too much away from learning online the way we did,” said a junior from NP3 High.

The workload became immense and students felt they couldn’t get the help they needed.

“It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t keep up on my school work and it made me feel mad that I couldn’t get the right help that I needed,” said Jocella Gutierrez, a sophomore attending NP3 High.

On the other hand, some students said distance learning had a positive impact because students could become more independent.

“I think it was a time where I got to take a little break but also improve on my learning skills on my own and become more independent,” said a sophomore attending NP3 High.

Some students said distance learning allowed them students to discover themselves, reflect, and improve.

“It has taken a positive toll on my mental health because although I was at my lowest point in the start, I was able to learn about myself more and it was for me really just a big period of self-reflection and self-improvement,” said a sophomore attending NP3 High.

In the 2021-22 school year, many students have eagerly returned to in-person learning. 86% of students say in-person learning had a positive impact on their mental health while 14% say it’s taken a negative toll on their mental health.

“It gave me a little something to look forward to such as seeing my friends and being able to do lab experiments. It is slowly taking away the negative feelings I associate with school,” said Ramos.

Attending school in -person allows for creating new relationships and friendships.

“In person learning has taken a positive toll on my mental health because getting to interact with my friends/people every day is a nice change…I’m addition, I feel like the friendships I make in class are more organic because we can catch each other after classes, and these moments do not present themselves over zoom,” said a junior attending NP3 High.

In-person learning has led to increased social interaction for students and teachers.

“Social interaction is an improvement but the loss of personal time is hard,” said a teacher from NP3 High.

Students worry about keeping themselves and the people around them safe from COVID-19 during In-person learning.

“To some extent in person has taken a negative toll on my mental health because I worry if I’m being safe enough to not get covid,” said a junior attending NP3 High.

Students worry about spreading COVID-19 to their family members and loved ones.

“It’s really important for me and for anyone for that matter to stay safe, especially when I do not want to spread it to my family or my grandparents when I visit them,” said a junior from NP3 High.

Over the past year, students said they have become more grateful for their education, friendships and ability to learn alongside their peers.

“I am more grateful for going into in person school. I never thought distance learning was possible until the pandemic and it has shown me to be grateful even for the little things in life like going into in person school and my friends,” said Emily Strueli, a junior attending NP3 High.

“I’ve become so open minded after these months and I can’t be more appreciative for the things I have and the connections I’ve made, having most of what I was used to taken away,” said a Senior attending NP3 High.