BU community and SPH event discuss post-pandemic mental health – The Daily Free Press


Many people have seen their mental health negatively affected by the pandemic, and BU has taken note. “The Next Normal: Mental Health,” a panel presented Tuesday by the Boston University School of Public Health, assembled a panel of experts to address mental health in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The Boston University School of Public Health hosted the sixth event in its “The Next Normal” virtual series on Tuesday to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SCHOOL BU

Dr. Danielle Fallin, professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University, was joined by public health professionals from various universities across the country, including Briana Mezuk, director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of Michigan, Courtney Thomas Tobin, Assistant Professor, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, and Katie Wang, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Public Health.

Fallin discussed the importance of meeting the mental health needs especially of young adults, noting that there had been a slight increase in mental illnesses and addictions during the pandemic.

“Stories matter, and it was really essential to see that in the context of the pandemic,” Fallin said during his presentation. “Personal connection, whether it’s their own experience or that of a family member or dear friend, is a powerful tool for de-stigmatization and almost everyone has experienced at least some level of psychological distress. “

Fallin concluded by discussing actions institutions could take, such as expanding mental health services and learning about the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare for the next mental health crisis in society.

Mezuk explained that while the pandemic may have exacerbated some mental health challenges, the underlying mental health issues were already present.

“Some groups already had some experience with ‘social distancing’. Of course, not the kind of social distancing we’re engaging in today, but social distancing as a measure of stigma, ”Mezuk said, listing people with mental illness, neurocognitive disorders and dementia as examples. history of incarceration.

During the interviews, students reflected on their personal experiences dealing with their own mental health during the pandemic. Sofia Herrera, a freshman at the College of Arts and Sciences, said the pandemic has allowed her to take a closer look at her mental health. The isolation, she said, gave her the opportunity to “take a break,” to re-evaluate her values ​​and how she approached her mental health.

“I feel like the pandemic has really helped me organize my mental health because when the pandemic started I was in my first year of high school and it all felt really overwhelming,” Herrara said.

Alexander Scott, a freshman at the College of Engineering, said the pandemic gave him enough time for self-reflection.

“The way I approached my life has changed a lot,” he said. “There are things I had no idea I even needed to watch out for, which I am now aware of and deal with every day.”

Jason Tandon, Senior Lecturer for CAS’s Writing Program, explained how faculty members have responded to the pandemic, both with their own mental health and how they are meeting the mental health needs of incoming students. DRANK.

“Some students emailed me saying, ‘I’m not coming to class today because I need a mental health break,’ Tandon said. “I think it’s a novelty.”

Tandon said other faculty in the BU’s writing program are tailoring their programs to meet the mental health needs of their students.

“There are noticeable changes even in the way we compose our programs. Work-based scoring, contract scoring is one example, compassion clauses in people’s programs, again, being more receptive to students who need to somehow take these days of sanity, ”said Tandon.

Mezuk said COVID-19 has opened up a “potentially unprecedented opportunity to rethink mental health services.” She concluded the discussion on how the pandemic has changed mental health by stressing that “there is no health without mental health”.

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