By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
I’ve been so fortunate as to have been through two quarantines in my short time at Baylor: the four-day Martin lockdown, and more recently, a 10-day isolation after testing positive. During both, Baylor has provided most of what I need to stay afloat, but there’s one key thing they aren’t doing: Baylor is overlooking the effects of quarantine on the mental health of their students.
I did fine in both of my quarantine experiences, but there are certainly students that would not have. I know people, both at Baylor and otherwise, who would struggle mightily with being alone for 240 hours. People need social interaction, and in a situation where that can’t be had, Baylor needs to be cognizant of what that can do.
A study in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that isolated patients have tested higher for depression, anxiety and anger. Additionally, the study found that healthcare workers are likely to spend less time with those isolated patients. I can’t speak for everyone, but none of those are areas in which I’d like to score high.
While in isolation, I received a text every couple days, always with the same questions. Do you have any symptoms? Do you need anything? Will anything prevent you from completing your quarantine? All valid questions, but that’s not all that needs to be asked. If I was struggling, it’s likely that they would not have known. I never saw a health professional of any kind during quarantine, and it would have been beneficial, especially if I had developed symptoms.
The easiest solution to all this is in-person checkups. Send a health professional by once a day, they can be in a hazmat suit if necessary, but someone needs to be seeing quarantined students. An in-person option gives Baylor the chance to actually confirm the symptoms students are developing, while also getting a real read on the student’s mental health.
In a time such as this, keeping spirits up can be hard. Having to isolate can be hard, believe me, I know. It can have some pretty nasty effects on our mental health. Baylor is doing a lot, but they aren’t doing what needs to be done in that department. In recent years, mental health has been brought to the forefront of the conversation about the well-being of young people, and with good reason. College students go through a lot, even in a normal year. Baylor needs to be sending health professionals to check on their students. They can’t afford not to.