Lauren White describes the past year of her life as a “total 180”. 


She went through a divorce, realized she didn’t like her job of five years and decided she needed to take a new direction. Now she is a freshman psychology major. 


“I’m a 34-year-old single mom,” said White. “Prior to starting school I was working, paying bills, and doing my job for my son.  Then I went through a divorce right before the pandemic happened. I was very unhappy.”


She flirted with the idea of returning to school during a talk with her therapist. 


“I want what’s going to make me happy… what’s going to serve my soul,” she said. “I love psychology and I love helping people. I was like ‘how can I do that but also work a good career and make good money to take care of my son’.” 


Now, White is on the path to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner.


Since early 2020, the pandemic has forced a halt on mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide, according to a World Health Organization survey. The demand for mental health services skyrocketed, as have symptoms of anxiety and depression in many. ACenters for Disease Control and Prevention study found the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5% between August 2020 and February 2021.


White’s passion for helping others improve their mental state derive from her very own endeavors. 


“I’ve struggled with mental health issues my whole life,” she said.