A Closer Look at UTC’s Student Mental Health Issues
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — It was a beautiful day on UTC’s campus, this afternoon, but in Ukraine, cities were covered by smoke and rubble.
Two years since the beginning of the pandemic, News 12 spoke to students at UTC to see how they feel about these major events.
“It bothers me a little bit, just knowing what’s going on over there, and jut like knowing that there’s nothing I can really do,” said Jason, a UTC student.
While the conflict in Ukraine is on some students’ minds, the main issue that has weighed on their mental health in the past two years has been the pandemic and the restrictions that came with it.
“You feel like you can’t talk to people as much, like open up or like, I guess like express how you’re feeling that much, because that’s just like the way it is, and you kind of just like have to deal with that and like accept that,” said Alexis, a Junior at UTC.
Over the past two years, reports of mental health concerns increased at UTC.
“We saw a pretty significant rise in student mental health concerns right before the pandemic, and then the pandemic certainly threw everybody into a tizzy, a little bit,” said Brett Fuchs, Director of Student Outreach and Support at UTC.
While major world events have an impact, UTC faculty say these events are not solely responsible for student mental health issues.
“I don’t think we can really point to one thing. Certainly, we have a population that’s affected by things like the war that’s going on in the Ukraine currently, but I wouldn’t say it impacts the entire campus. It certainly affects a population of our students.”
As students return to campus, UTC faculty are beginning to see the return of mental health issues that were common before the pandemic.
“The general issues of anxiety, depression, some of the cases of severe mental health that we saw before are beginning to come back, whereas we had lost that a little bit because we had fewer people on campus.”
The types of mental health concerns reported at UTC may be changing, but UTC faculty pointed out that they are not declining.