If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, counseling and other resources are available to students through the Student Success Center and other easily-accessible community sources. The simple act of reaching out for help – to a professional, a friend or a loved one – goes a long way. You are not alone, and you are loved.

By Tabitha Barr / Editor in Chief

With this being the last edition of the 2019-2020 school year, I wanted to talk about something close to my heart – mental health.

Mental health is an important topic for everyone to talk about openly, especially right now. It seems almost ironic that May is Mental Health Awareness month. When I realized that, I audibly went, “Ha!”

Mental health for everyone took a toll as the pandemic took over our lives. I think that’s why, more than ever, we as a society need to research and learn about how mental health is just as important as physical health.

Younger generations understand that mental health isn’t something we have to hide. The more that we can talk about it and be open with our experiences, the better we can understand mental health and the people that struggle with it.

Coronavirus has been my biggest bully yet. After trying to deal with ‘Rona head-on, it feels like I have paper cuts between my fingers, was beaten and bruised, stepped on thousands of Legos, and have the feeling inside of not being able to pet a cute puppy.

Am I being dramatic? Well, yes, because I always am, but it’s knocked me on my ass pretty good.

At first, I didn’t know if I was the best person to write a column on mental health awareness, because, clearly, I’m not doing too well. But maybe that’s why it’s perfect.

I am fighting for happiness right now harder than I have in a long time. I know that if I’m feeling this way, then lots of others do too. In fact, I have not talked to one person my age who doesn’t feel down in the dumps.

However, the one thing that has kept me from falling off the edge is the amazing people in my life. I may not be able to physically hug them due to social-distancing measures, but virtual hugs have been extended everywhere. The fact that I have friends whom I message, and they message me, during this time means so much. And it may not be actual words spoken between us, but just funny TikToks and memes that we think are funny and the other one might enjoy.

I may not be doing as well as the toilet paper industry is, but I’m working my way up from one-ply to two-ply.

Certain coping mechanisms have been keeping me distracted and somewhat sane. Therapy is a big one that’s keeping me afloat. I know therapy isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay, but if you need to talk to someone, there are many outlets available. 

TikTok and funny YouTube videos have been my guilty pleasure when nothing else seems worth it. Cute animal videos, dumb humor, weird as f— dance trends and more, keep me laughing at my phone and not crying at the world.

Interacting “with” family and friends is severely needed. Zoom calls, FaceTime calls, phone calls, Snapchats, and more are great ways to keep our connections together. We may be in isolation, but having people nearby benefits mental health tremendously.

My furry friends have been my saviors. I have two lovely doggos named Francine and Bernie, and they are the cutest and sweetest pups around. I honestly couldn’t be without them right now.

A hobby that I’ve been able to pick back up again is jigsaw puzzles. I’m a sucker for a good puzzle, and they keep me distracted until they’re done. Disney puzzles have been my enjoyment lately, but any puzzle will do.

Mental health is hard to understand sometimes and even harder to keep up. There are so many outlets for those who are struggling right now, but just know it’s okay to not be okay.

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