The stressed-out little world we live in

An interview with Jeff Huyett on mental health and COVID-19


Venkatesh Chandrasekaran , Student Reporter

The COVID- 19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on mental health and how it affects individuals all around. [Both personal and current events.] Mental illness and diseases and catching up increasingly in the following months so far, data conveys this. People are suffering with diseases like Post Dramatic Stress Disorder and are also affected by long term Coronavirus, COVID symptoms. These types of diseases and infections heavily impact our mental health and functioning. But mostly immunocompromised people suffer with COVID the most, and the second most is the elderly people. Here is a 2021 survey,  showing that people are likely to develop mental health issues after a COVID-19 infection.

I recently sat down with Jeff Huyett, Director of Health Services at Landmark College to discuss COVID- 19 and mental health.

The interview took place at 3:20pm on September 22nd in the student Center. We discussed how events regarding mental health sometimes have a negative effect on students, sometimes leading to anxiety, wrist cuts, suicidal tendencies and being antisocial, or in his words “isolating.” He suggests that students not taking their medication at all or on time are also setting them off balance, as they would not be able to properly self-regulate themselves, potentially leading to all the above. He also states that the pandemic [COVID- 19] has affected both students and staff/ faculty members alike. but the social distancing is deeply impacting, making students more distant than they already are. This in turn hinders the ability to be social again.  He also states that the college is trying to work with students to get past their barriers and This is seen more like a mental health challenge and not a crisis.

Photo by:
Venkatesh Chandrasekaran
Photo by:
Venkatesh Chandrasekaran

The topic of COVID-19 also brought discussion about vaccinations and how high immunization rates at the college are helping bring people together again. But also, at the same time there are groups rallying in protest, under the name of anti- vexers and/ or anti-maskers, risking the spread of infections. This is also causing delays for people getting immunized completely and therefore causing delays to return to the normal flow of living. To reduce transmission Heath Services along with Landmark College would advise all individuals to wear mask indoors where it is crowded. But along with that, safe habits like washing hands are important as it can neutralize flu infections. As stated by Jeff Huyett, “60,000 people die a year from the flu.”

As a follow up, we discussed Huyett’s thoughts about students faking their COVID rapid tests and roaming around in public. Huyett states that some students do this as they are afraid of going to COVID isolation (at the Gatehouse) and that there may be some dissatisfied parents and students, as there are not any services or housekeeping, and those places can become dirty and messy. As a result, students who were there before may talk to other students about this and word spreads, potentially causing some students to deny infection. It is obviously annoying and frustrating to see students not being responsible. But At the same time, students at their youthful age do not get affected by COVID as easily as the elder generation or people whose immunity is compromised/ immune suppressing medication.

We also talked about last year’s cancelation of the “Student Drug Delivery System” and updated other means to transport their medication. Huyett states that the pharmacy drug delivery was a partnership between Landmark College and Hotel Pharmacy, and this system was established before his employment. This was the first and was the last of this program, as no other pharmacy has agreed to partner up with Landmark College since then. As Huyett explains, “We are not a pharmacy, we just prescribe.” So, typically out in the world, your prescriber cannot be held responsible for getting the medication. With this shift in dynamics, it is presumed to be important for students, but according to Huyett it is not, as it teaches them to be independent. Most students find this challenging as their parents would help them in getting their medication on time. However, the college and health services have taken steps to teach students to procure their medications, such as using mail order delivery to transport medication, using Amazon meds, or using insurance to get cheaper medications, as cost would be covered.

I also did an interview with Chris Boyle, who is 21 years old. We discussed mental health and COVID-19, and how this has affected his wellbeing. Chris explains the way he copes day-to-day. What he finds most helpful is talking about it with his therapist and advisors regularly. He quotes “Mental health is an important part of healthy living, and it is a balance of caring for yourself, handling stress and relaxing.’ His perspective on COVID is that his social life has been affected as his social skills are not as good as before COVID since he stayed home a lot. He is trying to get back at the swing of things like socializing/ interacting and heading outdoors more. We also talked about the rumor that students are faking their COVID rapid test results and what does he this about this? Chris states that whoever are doing this, what they are doing is not cool and they are seriously affecting the people around them especially students whose immunity system is damaged as it is and taking tests are necessary as some students might have COVID transmitted to them but might not show symptoms as they could be asymptomatic. We wrapped up our discussion after talking about the drug delivery system and What is his take on that. Chris says that he knew about that policy and what happened, and the means he uses as transport. He states that he owns a car, so he uses it to get the things that he needs. He also suggests the use of other means like mail order delivery, etc.