WACO, TX — The pandemic has not only impacted individuals financially, but also mentally.
"It is a mental health crisis, and even prior to the pandemic, suicide rates where on the rise,” said Dr. Samuel Fiala, Texas A&M Central Texas Associate Professor & Chair of Counseling Psychology.
COVID-19 has brought to the surface many underlying issues within our nation that involve more than just a virus, but a mental health crisis.
“Because the pandemic has so many far reaching consequences in terms of economic consequences. When you have those economic threats, economic challenges, that leads to stress, anxiety, which are mental health issues, and the pandemic leads to, for many of us, some degree of social isolation,” said Dr. Fiala.
Mental health coverage is a luxury that not all individuals have, especially those just entering the workforce.
“I think students would like to have it [mental health coverage] as an option in their insurance providers with employers, but right now most people are just happy to have a job, and I think they are just hoping to figure it out like a lot of things,” said Dr. Fiala.
“Especially living through a pandemic and trying to make it through school, figuring out what it means to be an adult... it's all very stressful. So I would honestly say having the conversation about mental health is a big topic that we often discuss,” said Baylor student Althea Musakasa.
Millennials and Generation Z are more concerned about mental health. Because of this, the generations entering the workforce might be the push for future employers to provide better mental health resources and coverage.
“I think we definitely see more openness to mental health, less stigmatizing. Young people today realize that today, if you’re going to talk to a therapist or a counselor, that doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or insane. It means that you are having some struggles and that you need someone to talk to,” said Dr. Fiala.
“I think if you want your employees to do their best, then you have to give them your best. And taking care of their mental health, their physical health, emotional health... I fully believe in a holistic approach to health. So make sure you cover all your bases,” said Musakasa.
Colleges and universities have multiple resources for students while they attend school, but institutions express that there could be concerns for when students leave and begin careers in this economy.