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#CopingWithCOVID: A webinar series on young people and mental health

#CopingWithCOVID: A webinar series on young people and mental health

2020/04/01

#CopingWithCOVID: A webinar series on young people and mental health

Following the World Health Organisation’s classification of COVID-19 as pandemic, Governments all around the world have started to respond by enforcing measures such as social-distancing, quarantine and isolation. While necessary, these measures can have a significant effect on young people’s mental health. Fear, anxiety, anger, sadness and grief are compounded by being away from schools, work, peers, adjusting to new ways of learning and working, as well as fear of losing jobs and family income.

For this reason, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, in partnership with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, are hosting a series of webinars for young people, titled “#CopingWithCOVID”. Our aim is to provide young people with a platform for genuine connection amid uncertainty, encouraging them to field their questions to the experts from UNICEF and WHO, generate mental health awareness among young people, and strengthen demand for integrated mental health and psychosocial interventions.

 

Your questions:

Q1: In the current situation, I find myself panicking a lot and I’m exhausted. How can I overcome this feeling?

Everyone experiences stress and copes with it differently. You may notice changes in your mood, such as increased irritability, feeling low or more anxious, you may experience difficulty sleeping, you may feel exhausted more often and more than usual, or it may feel harder to relax during respite periods.

It is natural to feel this way during difficult and uncertain times, and there are many things you can do that can help:

  • Connect with people you trust. Contact your friends and family and, if you are comfortable, share your concerns and how you feel.
  • If you are required to stay at home, try to maintain a healthy routine and lifestyle including a proper diet, sleep and exercise.
  • Relaxation exercises (e.g. breathing, meditation, mindfulness) may help you reduce stress and anxiety and improve your sleep. Methodically tensing and relaxing certain muscle groups can help you voluntarily relax when anxiety is running high. There are many online resources, such as YouTube videos, or apps, that may help you with these.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends through email, phone calls and making use of social media platforms.
  • Don’t resort to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs to cope with your emotions.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker, social worker, similar professional, or another trusted person in your community. In many countries there are hotlines you can call to get support.
  • Have a plan of where to go and seek help for physical and mental health and psychosocial needs, if required.
  • Get the facts about your risk and how to take precautions. Use credible sources to get information, such as the WHO website or, a local or state public health agency.
  • Decrease the time you and your family spend watching or listening to upsetting media coverage and minimize the time you spend looking for information – for example, 1-2 times per day.

Q2: I’m very anxious and having difficulty focusing and getting anything done. How do I adjust to a new routine and keep my motivation?

Q3: I feel like I’m constantly dealing with disappointment. So many things are getting cancelled, I can manage with the smaller everyday things but then there are big things like my graduation and losing my job. How do I cope with this?

Q4: What can I do to help support the mental health of my family and peers?

Q5: Staying at home all day with my family members is challenging and I am super irritable all day. How do I keep my mood in check and avoid getting in fights with those I’m living with?

Q6: What are some activities I can do to connect with my friends during quarantine?

The next webinars will take place on the following dates:

Session 1 – April 1, 2020, 8.00-9.00 am (New York Time)
Session 2 – April 15, 2020, 8.00-9.00 am (New York Time)
Session 3 – April 29, 2020 (Time TBC)
Session 4 – May 6, 2020 (Time TBC)

If you missed any of the sessions, you can watch them below!

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Read the presentation from the 1st Session HERE.

UNICEF.org – https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-teenagers-can-protect-their-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19

WHO – https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/coping-with-stress.pdf?sfvrsn=9845bc3a_8

Mental Health resources from MHIN – https://www.mhinnovation.net/resources/mental-health-resources-coping-during-covid-19-outbreak

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic – https://globalhealth.harvard.edu/mentalhealth-resources-covid19?

Domestic Violence during the COVID-19 pandemic

https://sanctuaryforfamilies.org/safety-planning-covid19/

https://gbvguidelines.org/en/knowledgehub/covid-19/

WHO Health Alert – Whatsapp +41 79 893 1892

Trello Board – https://trello.com/b/7WAkjRqF/copingwithcovid-youth-and-mental-health-webinar-series