With the start of the 2020 school year, there are a lot of different factors causing stress and anxiety for students and staff alike. It is more important than ever to acknowledge mental health.
Mental health is your psychological well-being. Everyone is at different levels and have different things that increase or decrease how you are doing, but right now it is an important time to check your own well-being.
With everything going on, and the uncertainty of many situations going forth, many people are overwhelmed and stressed, and have no idea what to do. Melinda Dubbs, one of Warren Central High School’s Licensed Clinical Social Workers and School-based Therapists, thinks prioritizing what to do is a great way to start.
“I think the first thing is do things that help alleviate that stress. A big thing would be creating a list of things that need to be done and sorting those priorities out, having a lot of discussions with family and friends just to help get support is there anything that they can help take off there load or even anything that they you know, what are things that do not need to be done right this second, what are things that need to be done, and helping reprioritize those things,” Dubbs said.
On the other hand, doing more with the extra free time given with the new schedule might seem like a good idea, but usually can call for more stress and can be overwhelming.
”I feel some people feel like they have more free time and like they should be doing more things, like learning a new language, or trying to take on more tasks. If you can do that that’s great, but I would argue that people wouldn’t add on to many things right now,” Dubbs said.
Life is stressful, you do not know what to do, you are feeling overwhelmed, being able to know what to do can be detrimental to your health.
“There’s a couple things they can do, obviously if they are feeling at risk I would recommend them reaching out for a hotline, there is a texting hotline that teenagers use. There is a suicide hotline as well if they are really at risk,” Dubbs said.
The Crisis Text Line, which you can text at 741741, is open at all times and open for any problem, big or small. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also always open and ready to help at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are not feeling heavily at risk, but are still overwhelmed and stressed an approach is to go visit chat rooms online.
“I really recommend there’s a lot of different chat rooms you can use and talk to. Or even joining more community forums, so there are like reddit communities for like depression or teenagers and stuff like that and being able to chat with other people have been really helpful,” Dubbs said.
One of the sites used by Dubbs to stay connected and help people is Meetup.com, a website used for virtual connection and an easy way to meet people in a safe and comfortable environment.
“I would say, do tell somebody, do let somebody know, don’t feel embarrassed, don’t feel like you are the only person experiencing it, don’t feel any shame or guilt related to it, I would say do feel like you can relax and take time off, usually after a panic attack you feel pretty exhausted, so it’s okay to take a rest, or a nap or something like that. I would just say do just keep seeking support, and if you need additional support here at school letting somebody know so we can get you that support,” Dubbs said.
Stress does not always happen when you are alone, statistically most panic attacks happen in public locations. It’s a stressful experience, and something that everyone goes through, but if you see someone having a panic attack, you should see if they are willing to let someone help them.
“If you notice someone having a panic attack, go up to them and you can say, ‘Hey I just wanted to check up and see how you’re doing.’ They might be trying some coping skills already to help themselves with the panic attack,” Dubbs said.
If they are not open to help, then leaving them alone is the best way to support them, but if they are open, there’s a couple things to do.
“If they are open to your help then you can do something like, ‘Hey I know some deep breathing exercises we can do together, or I have an app on my phone that helps me, or we can do some meditation together,’ but I honestly think that the best thing to do is that ‘Hey, are you okay? Is there any way I can help?’ That really snaps someone back to reality and helps them be open for support,” Dubbs said.
Almost everyone is going through a tough time and a good way many people have been trying to cope is to disconnect.
“I would say my biggest advice is that it’s okay to detach yourself from TV, social media, and electronics and everything. If you feel like you are being overwhelmed by the news and all the things happening in the world, which I get it’s really valid, it’s okay to take some time and spend some time with family and friends and put yourself into a fantasy world with movies, anime, video games, that is okay to do that and it’s really good to take breaks,” Dubbs said.
Offer people your support, you never know what someone is going through and it can really just help anyone’s day by being polite and showing support to people. If you are struggling, keep pushing on, if not, keep pushing on. And as Dubbs said, ”I think the first thing is, do things that help alleviate that stress.”