Undoubtedly, it is a common sight for mental health struggles to become more apparent during a time like this, amidst a global pandemic and a semester of classes both online and scattered across an empty campus.
While the pandemic may have a majority of us isolated from the ones we routinely saw or were together with prior to March, there are still so many ways to communicate with our friends.
Staying in touch with a friend or simply checking up on them during this chaotic time is just one of many ways that we can ensure that our friends and loved ones are doing alright.
During this period of pandemic-based life specifically, a lot of people have had complex mental illnesses or issues surface because of the stress and anxiety-inducing environment that comes from COVID-19 and being a college student. To help yourself or any of those around you who may be struggling, you can start by simply reaching out.
Talking about the stresses of pandemic life and venting with a trustworthy person are simple ways to let off some of the steam of life today. The most important thing right now is to make sure that you are aware of your own feelings and the behavior of the ones you love, while also maintaining open communication when you can.
When checking in on a friend you believe may be struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to understand how to communicate with them. Abrasively addressing someone’s introverted behavior through a text of “Hey what’s wrong? You have been acting different,” can, a lot of the time, lead to more harm than what is intended.
Start conversations by empathizing with your loved ones and think about what factors may be contributing to their behaviors right now. Reach out to your friends in a way that checks on their current state while also still maintaining a sense of normality in your conversations.
Some of the most common signs of someone struggling with mental health include self-isolation, distancing from those around them, a severe lack in communication or a sudden change in diet and physical appearance. Keep an eye on what your friend may be doing on social media or what they may be saying in their conversations with you. Remembering to stay empathetic and wholeheartedly listening to those around you during this time are just a few of the ways that you can check in on a struggling friend.
There are also a number of ways that you as an individual can be better for yourself and for those around you regarding your mental health.
Being more engaged with your feelings and listening to how you respond to various events can really help with understanding your mental health more. By journaling, talking or engaging with your own mental health, you can be a safe place for those around you that may be struggling too.