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viewpoint

Go Irish, beat coronavirus

| Thursday, March 26, 2020

On March 18, the University of Notre Dame announced the discontinuation of on-campus learning for the remainder of the semester. This came as a disappointment to all members of the campus community who clung on to the hope that maybe they would be able to return to campus for the final month of classes.

So much has happened so quickly. Seniors have lost the last piece of their time at Notre Dame. Many juniors had their study abroad experiences so abruptly cut short. Underclassmen lost one of just a few precious semesters of their time here at this special place. Companies all around the world are postponing or canceling internships altogether. The first Notre Dame student tested positive for COVID-19. Entire countries are on lockdown. You would be hard-pressed to find someone whose life is completely unaffected by the current outbreak. Understandably, morale is dismally low.

I want to bring your attention to an issue that sinisterly lurks behind this public health crisis: mental health. A subject that fades in and out of the public eye, proper mental health care is a necessary step each person must take to properly combat this outbreak. Those who suffer from a myriad of mental health struggles ranging across all levels of severity may find daily life more difficult than before. Feelings of isolation and loneliness will continue to increase under quarantine and self-isolation.   

If you find yourself struggling, reach out. Reach out to your friends, your family or to a professional for help. The organization You Matter said it perfectly: “It’s OK not to be OK.” This a lesson we should always remember but should now be in the front of our minds as we swiftly move to combat this outbreak.

It is our responsibility to look out for our friends, our colleagues and all members of the Notre Dame community. Your friend who you noticed “wasn’t doing so well” while everyone was still on campus? Check in on them. Your friend who is affected by travel restrictions and may struggle to get home? Check in on them. Your friend who must quarantine themselves (though we should all be doing it anyway)? Check in on them. Your friend whose dream internship was just canceled? Check in on them.

With the current situation unfolding as it is, I am calling on everyone to adhere to a higher standard and be more diligent in taking care of one another despite the distance between all of us. Due to the recent quarantine in place, our vision has tunneled to prioritize self-preservation. We cannot forget about our responsibility to other people both within and outside of the Notre Dame community. The strength of the Notre Dame community has been tried and tested before. Although the future remains uncertain, I am confident that we will emerge victorious from this pandemic stronger and closer than ever before.

I’m going to keep this short because I think you get the point. If you are struggling, reach out. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out. Take care of one another.

Go Irish. Beat Coronavirus.

Patrick Sansone

junior

March 19

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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