The world is a place where events, both good and bad, are happening on a constant basis. The current political and social climate is often filled with chaos and unpredictability. With society being in a digital age, it can be easy to get wrapped up in news and social media portrayals of these events and become overwhelmed or stressed.
Mental health affects everyone differently. Often, people do not realize they are being impacted by mental health, discounting it as exhaustion or lack of motivation. Senior healthcare administration major Kathryn Toole discussed how mental health is “very import to acknowledge… [and that one] can’t just sweep it under.”
“There are aspects that everyone can relate too… its like pandora’s box… not taboo [subject],” Toole said.
Mental health used to often be ignored and was not discussed openly among the general public or medical professionals. Part of the extreme growth in discussions about mental health be attributed to to the growth of internet and social media popularity, with people becoming more vocal about their thoughts and feelings around certain events or issues.
“Early 2000s, a lot more people became more open…a lot of countries have been more open… activists [including celebrities and other outspoken people] causing people to be more open to it… COVID brought [talking about mental health] to life,” said Toole.
While the internet and social media have brought discussions on mental health to life, it has caused a debate that is ongoing to this day about whether the connectivity of this era is more of a detriment to mental health than a benefit.
Katelyn Hayes, the wellness coordinator for Samford CARES, said that “mental health is a piece of wellness, not the full part, but each part is very important.” In handling mental health, she discussed how people “only listen to the extremes” and that it is good to check in regularly and manage your mental health just as readily as your physical health.
Through social media and the internet, people can keep up with the news both locally and globally. Hayes “atones it to a generational alignment” that has many young people are constantly aware of world events and end up being affected by the constant chaos.
“We are constantly seeing through a screen rather than in person,” said Toole.
While mental health can be overwhelming, there are ways that one can work on taking care of themselves. Hayes lists several things that someone can do to manage their health.
“Understand what you can handle, find ways to plug in and support organizations to make lives better each day. and setting boundaries is always good,” Hayes said.
Before heading into the holiday season, Hayes advised people to “take stock… of what they need and what they don’t need… take care of themselves, be active and be with people that fill them up.”
The world can often seem like a dark place where it seems like everyone but you has it all together, or there are so many things happening that cause pain, suffering and confusion. While being aware of recent events is important, it is also healthy to disconnect from media and prioritize mental rest time.
“I have put on time restraints on my phone… I think it’s a privilege to set it aside,” Hayes said.
Samford has numerous resources to help students in the classroom as well as in their personal lives with wellness counseling, disability resources and others. Call 205-726-4833 to make an appointment with Samford CARES. If you or someone you know need immediate help, call the national suicide prevention hotline at 988.