We have all seen the posters. The posters that are calling us to action, urging us to wash our hands and practice social distancing. However, where are the reminders to take care of your mental health? Mental health is a part of our overall well being, and students especially are struggling with it. There is a very high chance that you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health. Depression and anxiety are at an all time high among teens amid the pandemic. According to a national poll by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine, 46 percent of parents say their teen had shown signs of a new or worsening mental health condition. Know that you are not alone. 

     Depression and anxiety can feel like you’re drowning, but help is never far away. Between work, school, and socializing with other people, a mental illness can make all of these things even harder. If you think you or someone you know might be experiencing difficulties with their mental health, it is best to consult a professional as soon as possible or reach out to a trusted adult. You could reach out to a teacher, counselor, or another trusted adult for help.

     There is a stigma around mental health that shouldn’t exist. You wouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking for a band aid. Why then, is it so hard to seek help with mental health? Ask yourself, are you not getting as much enjoyment out of things as you used to? Do you find yourself often feeling angry, sad, or frustrated? Have you noticed any changes in your sleep? Is it increasingly difficult to concentrate during class? If these feelings sound familiar, it may be time to reach out for help.

     In addition to reaching out to a trusted adult, here are some ideas recommended by the CDC to cope with stress: take a break from social media, spend some time taking care of your body (taking deep breaths, exercising regularly, eating well, getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep, avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and other substances), make time to relax and do something you enjoy, connect with other people, and connect with your chosen community. 

And remember, you can’t give from an empty cup. Take care of yourself. The world needs you.

Here are some resources for you to contact:

     Mental Health America Hotline: Text MHA to 741741. Mental Health America is a nationwide organization that provides assistance through this text line. You will be linked to someone who can guide you through a crisis or just provide information.

     National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Crisis intervention and free emotional support are available, which is helpful when you need confidential assistance during a time of emotional distress for you or a loved one. The helpline is open 24/7, and a live online chat is available as well.

     Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741. Specialized crisis counselors are just a text message away on this free, confidential 24-hour support line. To further protect your privacy, these messages do not appear on a phone bill. The text line also provides services and support if you are upset, scared, hurt, frustrated, or distressed.