There’s no question that this is an incredibly challenging time – especially for our youth – and many people are experiencing an increase in isolation, fear, and anxiety. If this is you, please know you are not alone! Unsurprisingly, we have seen a significant increase in texts from students over the past few weeks related to feelings of depression, increased anxiety, and suicidal ideation. It is vital that we acknowledge this and that we do something about it – both individually and as a community.
Because of this, I want to take an opportunity to share with you a few suggestions that may help you and your families during this difficult time. I have also shared some resources below for ways you or your loved ones can reach out for help when needed the most. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Our amazing Text-A-Tip clinicians will be answering questions live today and every Friday in May on ourInstagram page. Feel free to reach out to us via DM at @golead.co to get your questions answered. As parents, there are a few things we can do to ease the anxiety in our household:
1. Ask simple questions to engage your teen.
- What has been the hardest part of quarantine?
- What are you most looking forward to when quarantine is over?
- How are you connecting with your friends during this time?
- Can I help you better understand your schoolwork?
2. Encourage self-care.
- Make sure your teens take time to do something they enjoy each day – even if that means extra screen time once in a while.
- Take some alone time.
- Exercise – go for a walk, do yoga, play a sport.
- Get dressed for the day and do your hair or makeup – just like you would if you were going somewhere.
- Play a game.
- Get enough sleep.
3. Connect with people.Our team has issued a challenge to “call 5 friends today.” When we feel alone or isolated, connecting with others may be the last thing we feel like doing, but it may be just what we need. It may also be what they need. Helping others makes us feel connected and gives us a purpose.
4. Focus on controlling what you can control.A helpful way to lower anxiety – because eliminating anxiety right now may not be realistic – is to be purposely aware of situations that are within our control. Think about creating a list of 5 simple areas in your life where you have control and power, and then focus on those. Maybe you have thoughts that no one cares about you or that no one notices you. At LEAD, we care about you! So, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Text-A-Tip to talk to a licensed therapist. There is nothing weak about that. It takes strength.Below are some resources that you may find helpful during this time:
- Text-A-Tip. Connect to our 24/7 text line and chat with a live, licensed mental health professional. To connect, text 847Help to 1-844-823-5323.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24/7, for free and confidential phone support.
- Catholic Charities Counseling Support Line. Call (312) 948-6951. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sometimes, taking the first step is the hardest. If you don’t know where to turn, how to get started, or if you are overwhelmed by the process, please reach out to us. We can help, and our team would be happy to guide you and to use our extensive network to advocate on your behalf. We care about you and your families, and we are here to respond and help.
Hang in there,
Andy Duran, CEO