Everyone’s mental health is challenged by this pandemic. The rate of college students struggling has been increasing for years, long before we’ve been forced to halt connection. Which makes things feel scarier, as connection is critical to mental health. Peer support has proven to be helpful for people of all ages. The Support Network is a peer to peer model which started at University of Michigan and has spread to several campuses across the country. Personally, support groups have helped me through my journey with a struggling child. Looking forward, I would love to see peer support in a more organized fashion for high schoolers. It can be such a tough time. Bullying, not being the best at whatever focus you have. Not getting into the college of your choice. Separating emotionally from your parents.
We can’t give up hope and we must do what we can to find some joy and happiness in each day. This is important and attainable. Social connection is the mainstream of young adults positive outlook. We must find ways to keep what we can safely intact. FaceTime, talk on the phone, take walks with friends. Write letters, share feelings.
This will end and we will treasure human connection even more. Helping others has been proven to boost our well being. Donate clothes you don’t wear. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Donate to a charity if you can. Lend a compassionate ear. Make time for gratitude. I know it’s hard to find things to be grateful for. Try to journal 3-5 things per day if you can. And then, express your gratitude. Tell people. Be in the present moment and savor the good things. Meditate. Try and not let your mind wander. It’s been described as the biceps curl for the mind. It could help in your overall function. Take in your emotions, recognize how you feel and nurture with self compassion.
These all might sound simplistic, but just try and it could help boost your mood or someone else's through this extremely difficult time.