How can tragedies affect students’ mental health?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

According to Oxford Languages, tragedies are classified as “An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe”.

During the past couple of years there have been many tragedies. Here are a couple of them: the murder of George Floyd, the Ukraine war, and the pandemic. These are only some of the many tragedies that have happened. 

Each tragedy affects everyone differently. 

When George Floyd died, many people from around the world were outraged. They began to protest for the “Black Lives Matter Movement.”

When the pandemic hit, most people’s mental health had plummeted. They were unable to see their friends or family.

Another couple of tragedies that can greatly impact people, especially students and staff, are school shootings and drunk driving accidents. 

School shootings are unfortunately common in the United States. According to Sandy Hook Promise, “The U.S. has had 1,316 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing. 18% of school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.”

There are students that are interviewed on the news around the topic of school shootings. You can hear the fear and ache inside their voice. If you want to watch some interviews check out this website:

I interviewed one student from each grade here at Highland Park Senior High. 

I asked them these questions:

  • Do you know of any world wide events that have affected you or your family?
  • If they did affect you, how did it affect you?
  • How did it affect your mental health?

The freshman responded, “The pandemic affected me directly. My step mother was pregnant during the pandemic so at one point we had to live with my mom for a whole month. School was really affected during it, it hurt my grades. It affected my mental health by not being able to socialize and not having my 8th grade year. It also affected my grades again.”

The sophomore responded, “There haven’t exactly been any big tragedies in my life. I could say the pandemic. It affected my mental health poorly by being isolated from my friends and family.”

The junior responded, “The pandemic and the murder of George Floyd really affected me and my family. The pandemic affected me by making my mental health just plummet. During the whole ‘prime time’ of the pandemic my mental health was horrible. I wasn’t even getting out of bed. The murder of George Floyd made me realize that the police system is corrupt and needs to be revised. People should not be getting murdered, primarily the black community, because it was a ‘mistake’ from the police officer. Or they were trying to ‘protect themselves because they saw the person as a threat.’”

The senior responded, “The pandemic has affected my mental health a lot because I was stuck in a house for so long. Also, I couldn’t see my friends or hangout with anybody and started feeling very lonely.”

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