TAMPA, Fla. - Nearly half of all American workers suffer from a mental health issue since the pandemic began, according to a new report by Oregon-based insurance provider The Standard.
A University of Tampa student says it's just as bad for college students.
"It's a completely different atmosphere. You walk around campus now and you may see 10 to 15 people from one building to the next where you used to see a couple hundred," University of Tampa student Benjamin Conness said.
Conness sees the isolation first-hand and says it can take a toll.
"It makes meeting new people, building a relationship with professors or even performing while in school. It just makes it a lot more difficult now," Conness said.
He's not alone.
Of the 1,400 workers surveyed by The Standard, 46% said they were struggling with mental health issues, compared to the 39% the previous year.
"We all have emotions. We all have things that get in our way. I think in med school were told to just work through it. Just work harder and I've realized it's not that. You can actually work smarter," Ajivar CEO Raj Goyal said.
It's why Goyal, CEO of the Tarpon Springs-based company Ajivar, created Real YOU, a smartphone app for college students. It's an extension of the Ajivar app, which is aimed at improving mindfulness and emotional intelligence using artificial intelligence.
Conness says it's brought him much-needed relief.
"I began to build up these emotional intelligence skills and understand myself a lot better and also while understanding myself I was able to understand others," Conness said.
To sign up for Real YOU, you must have an .edu email address. It's free and available in the app store through the Ajivar app. The community allows students to remain anonymous, share thoughts and get advice or affirmation from others.
Conness says if you are struggling know the first step is reaching out for help.
"Take something good out of your day and give yourself a smile. It'll change your whole day," Conness said.