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Illustration by Laura Evans

Mental Health During A Global Pandemic

Navigating mental health during a global pandemic is no small task. Many people have grown tired of the “now more than ever” and “unprecedented times” tropes. But the reality is, they’re true.  We’re living through multiple, concurrent crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated communities worldwide, leaving an economic downturn in its wake. Now, many are struggling to identify what’s next. We know this is especially true for minority populations. Intersecting identities have left minorities disproportionately impacted and particularly vulnerable during times of crisis. 

Mental Health Implications

Furthermore, this comes at a time when thousands of people are protesting systemic racism and the senseless killings of Black people in our country. As if the year didn’t already have enough uncertainty and disruption, we are in the midst of an incredibly polarized election cycle. 

The pandemic has also been particularly challenging for students whose lives primarily revolve around routines. When the pandemic shuttered school buildings across the nation, many students —and parents—were left wondering ‘what now?’. Earlier this year when we spoke with Amistad High rising junior, Nyah, she said the most challenging part of the pandemic was the disruption of her daily routines. 

Mental Health Awareness Resources

Although National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month recently came to a close, the need for communities—communities of color and underrepresented populations, especially—to take care of themselves is critical. Here are a few resources, including apps and organizations, that offer services to help practice self-care.

  • Shine is a mobile app co-founded by two women of color “on a mission to make caring for your mental and emotional health easier, more representative, and more inclusive—of all of our experiences.” Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi founded Shine, which has grown considerably since its early days of SMS, to address the gap in the mainstream wellness industry for marginalized groups. The Shine app is free to download and offers two options of paid-memberships to take your practice up a notch.
  • LGBTQ+ youth are facing a mental health crisis. The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing support to LGTBQ+ youth, recently released its 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. LGBTQ+ youth have limited access to community support and counseling services. TrevorText is a secure safe space that provides live help for LGBTQ youth via text message.
  • Are you on your fifth Netflix binge this week? Shake things up by taking a technology detox and have a day of play instead! Keep your kids busy with this list of 125 ideas to keep kids entertained during the pandemic.
  • Join Adrienne and her friend in this video, where they practice yoga together in a park. Even if you can’t go outside, find somewhere comfortable to sit and join in on the fun. From the yoga guru herself: hop like a frog on your mat, connect to your breath, and move in a way that feels good. Use your imagination as you stretch your body and calm your mind!
  • Help your kids practice mindfulness, so they have a toolkit for managing stress and building self-esteem. From mindful posing to activating those spidey-senses, this list will help kickstart your mindfulness exercises. Interested in helping your teen establish a mindfulness practice? Check out this helpful resource from Real Simple.

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