Over the past month my understanding of media has evolved, but not because I learned something new. It evolved because I gained a better understanding of how powerful media is due to COVID-19. The severity of COVID-19 has limited almost all of my social interactions to social media and applications such as zoom. Never in a million years did I believe my social life would be limited in these ways and that I would rarely leave my house. Along with having all my social interactions limited, my reliance on the media has increased as I am constantly checking the news for updates on the global pandemic that is COVID-19.
As thankful as I am for the power the media has, I also fear how the whole situation revolving around COVID-19 may be affecting mental health. I can not speak for others but, I for one find my current life to be extremely stressful. Part of the reason is we are going through something that was not only unexpected but has never been experienced before. Due to COVID-19 people are being forced to stay home from work and some are being laid off. The uncertainty being caused by COVID-19 can lead to a surge in individuals suffering from anxiety/stress related mental health issues. This can be a serious issue because as Will Kane highlighted in his article, “A student with anxiety is 3.2 times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, the findings show.” Another reason stress and anxiety levels may rise is because of how information surrounding COVID-19 is being encoded and then delivered through the media. Even though it may cause mass panic, I think it is best that COVID-19 be portrayed in this way in order to help the healthcare system by flattening the curve.
Kane, Will. “Anxiety Epidemic Brewing on College Campuses, Researchers Find.” Berkeley News, 19 Apr. 2019, news.berkeley.edu/2019/04/18/anxiety-epidemic-brewing-on-college-campuses-researchers-find/.