Los Rios students speak out on mental health during closure

As we try to make it through a global pandemic, we should ask each other, “How are you feeling?” Not to ask if we are feeling any cold, allergy or COVID-19 symptoms but to ask how we are feeling mentally. 

For students, everything has been turned upside down for their spring semester. Some are still getting used to their online classes, while some will be missing out on a graduation ceremony. 

From the campus closures, the stay-at-home order, to employees being laid off from their jobs, it makes students wonder when everything will go back to normal again. 

A 22-year-old journalism major, Summer Lomendehe said she is currently self-isolating during the campus closure due to the pandemic. 

“Honestly, it’s been pretty rough because prior to this, I was diagnosed with seasonal depression,” said Lomendehe. “Now just the environment we’re living in, the situational depression is making it hard to distinguish if it is because of seasonal depression or COVID-19.”

Another 22-year-old journalism major, Lexus Fletcher said that she has been out of work from her hostess job since the outbreak started and she is still getting used to having classes online. 

“I do struggle with mental health, I have a few diagnoses. It’s really hard to keep it balanced and I’m definitely making sure that I’m taking my medication and staying active,” said Fletcher. “I can’t stay inside for very long, I have to go outside for at least an hour to regroup.” 

While it is common for students to be currently experiencing troubles with mental health, the counseling center at Cosumnes River College is still offering their services. 

The CRC counseling department chair, Ray Mapeso said that counselors are still assisting students and offering help for those in crisis despite the campus closure. 

“Faculty are assigned day-to-day for a student as a crisis counselor,” said Mapeso. “We are keeping that schedule during the campus closure.” 

Within the counseling department, Mapeso said there are two counselors for DSPS, one counselor for athletics and three for EOPS. 

“I’ve done a couple personal appointments through Zoom and over the phone,” said Mapeso. “A lot of private practice counselors are currently going through Zoom or phone to complete their appointments.” 

Mapeso said they hope students can be able to seek out more resources for mental health right now as long as they have health insurance coverage. 

Fletcher said it is her first semester at CRC and that she has not used the counseling services yet due to personal experiences with social anxiety. 

“I like to write so that usually helps me calm down and I have downloaded meditation apps to help keep my mind at ease,” said Fletcher. “I would try to find other things to help me stay grounded and I have been to counseling in the past so I still do some of those learned exercises.” 

Fletcher said music has also been a huge help and has been found to be a really good outlet when it comes to mental health struggles. 

Lomendehe said she used the campus resources offered by counseling to the full extent and saw a crisis counselor when necessary. 

“Right now I’ve been looking into routine apps since I have struggled with establishing a routine,” said Lomendehe. “I think they are essential to stay sane; establishing a routine is crucial.” 

Lomendehe said by doing little things day-to-day will help everyone’s mindsets during this time. 

“Just taking care of yourself mentally and physically should be your top priority,” said Lomendehe. “We are all doing our best by self-isolating; it speaks a whole lot. Because we’re distancing, we can consider ourselves heroes for that since we are saving our lives and our community.” 

So during this time of uncertainty, just know that you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay and know that there is no shame in asking for help. Remember that we are in this together and everything will be alright. 

For those who may need extra or immediate mental health services, contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” or “HELLO” to 741741 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.