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Saturday, May 08, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Students Focus on Mental Health During the Pandemic

By Josh Meyers

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Throughout the year, COVID-19 has been a major source of stress for students on campus.

Over a year ago, the pandemic changed the lives of everyone. The campus became a ghost town as students were sent home for the rest of the semester to take online classes. Today, the main issue isn’t only protecting students’ physical health, but their mental health as well.

International student Saad Sayed is helping heal his mental health through prayer at Hendricks Chapel.

“I mean it was very challenging at first,” Sayed told me. “It just gives you a sense of happiness.”

During the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, the Chapel is holding several in-person events to help students heal during the pandemic. Saad said the events are making students feel less lonely.

“It becomes really important for these people to know that they have someone around to talk to,” he said. “Just to make them feel more at home.”

Dean of Hendricks Chapel Reverend Brian Konkol said the Chapel is more than just a place to gather.

“I think part of what makes Hendricks Chapel so special is that is is specifically designed for the spirit and the soul,” Konkol told me at Hendricks. “These is a place where you can bestow something good upon others.”

The Muslim Student Association has taken full advantage of the Chapel during the pandemic by holding prayer services throughout the week. MSA President Haneen Awawda said the room has helped so many struggling students.

“We are very grateful that we have that MSA room where we can use that space to pray, to meet with others,” she told me. “We have held a lot of discussions and conversations about normalizing talking about mental health and the issues that Muslims face on campus.”