The Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health Among University Students in Malaysia

News & Society

  • Author Ahmad Syahmi Bin Ghazali
  • Published July 7, 2021
  • Word count 785

Lately, we have been shocked by a deadly Covid-19 pandemic spreading across the whole continent. The fear of the unknown and uncertainty without a doubt induced anxiety and increased the level of uneasiness. Although, the community seemed to be unaffected by this pandemic until the first case of Covid-19 in Malaysia was confirmed on 25th January 2020. In time, the number of cases continues to surge steadily until the end of February 2020. However, there was a sudden rise in the Covid-19 cases after the 14th of March where the cases seemed to be connected to a religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur not long before. Based on the report, at least 16,000 people attended the gathering which gives rise to the total of cases for the next two months. There is a question that always pops up in society’s mind recently. What is the impact of Covid-19 pandemic mental health among university students eventually? In my opinion, the impacts are the increase of anxiety and uneasiness level, the rise of distress level and the changes in students’ life.

In regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, almost all the university premises take an alternative in shifting their mode of teaching from physical to virtual. These immediate changes in the mode of teaching somewhat increased the anxiety level and created uneasiness feeling among the general public and the same goes for the students. Students usually involved face-to-face with their lecturers and have a comfortable environment in dealing with their learning day by day. But then they have to adapt to their new environment in dealing with online learning using e-Learning Platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Global Open Access Learning System(GOALS) and Zoom which depend on the Internet. These significant changes not only affect their performance but also increase their level of depression from time to time. Thus, it is essential to keep a tab on the mental health of students to avoid them from enduring the pain and eventually lead to a suicidal attempt.

Before this pandemic took place, students usually have a significant of leisure time in the evening to involve in curricular activities and sports. Besides, they have to do something other than studying to release their tension and stress level. But then as this pandemic goes on, people need to practice social distancing which they need to stay at least one meter apart from each other in the public areas. This is one of the measures implemented by the Malaysian government to maintain the spread of contagious disease. For this reason, students no longer allowed to gather even for a curricular activity but rather they can do sport on their own at home. This surely adds up to student lonesomeness and increase the distress level. Hence, family members play an essential role in supporting and being with the student from loneliness.

In the long run, surely there will be the psychological impact of Covid-19 that affect society all together especially students who need to cope with a new norm in their daily life. Moreover, the imposed restrictions would certainly elevate the psychological pressure of the university student whose their learning progress was postponed until further notice. As regards these matters, many universities took a precautious and announced the postponement of classroom teaching which led to e-learning during this lockdown. Among them, students who live in rural areas seem to be one of the most affected groups rather than students who live in urban areas. This is due to the limited Internet coverage in an isolated area compare to the city. For an instance, they will have a difficulty in joining the online classes provided by their lecturers because of the loss of network. These unfavourable circumstances surely give rise to their stress level especially those who face coping and adjustment difficulties. Therefore, this turn of event surely changes the lives of students.

In short, there are significant impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health among university student including the increase of anxiety and uneasiness level, the rise of distress level and the changes in students’ life. As of now, the Malaysian government has implemented a total of five phases of different-level of Movement Control Order (MCO) till the 4th of March 2021. The full MCO 3.0 nationwide from the 1st to 28th of June 2021 was implemented by the government as the countermeasure in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic recently. An increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety is already being reported in several countries during the COVID-19 pandemic (WHO 2020). In addition, and up to date, these nationwide closures are impacting almost 70% of the world’s student population. (UNESCO 2020). Hopefully, society will take serious action and obey all the government’s order to stop this pandemic from spreading.

My name is Ahmad Syahmi bin Ghazali. I am a third year university student . I really love writting articles in my leisure time. I hope that I can continue to do so and improve my writting to be a better author.

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