Hanging the Drywall: Navigating Mental Health as a Young Adult
By Savanna Woods
Transitioning from an adolescent to an adult is an exciting, scary, and overwhelming experience. Being a young adult means gaining more responsibilities, trying to fit in with peers, striving to succeed in school, and developing deeper emotions. All while being bombarded with parents’ expectations and the need to feel accepted.
Being a teenager is hard, especially with the presence of social media. Stereotypes, peer pressure, bullying, and new trends all influence an adolescent’s actions and their mental health. Trying to navigate through all of these while maintaining physical and mental health can often be too much for a young adult to handle on their own. It is important for young adults to reach out to parents, teachers, or friends. These people can offer a listening ear or help someone get the help they need when struggling with mental illness.
With suicide being the 2nd leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34 in the United States, adequate resources and help are needed now more than ever. As a second-year college student, I understand how hard it can be to remain healthy and reach out for help as a young adult. Even when we know that resources are available, it can be hard to seek support. We often have busy schedules, toxic stereotypes, or even fear of what we may learn about ourselves.
The first step to navigating mental health as a young adult is to do research and find out what resources are available.
College students can typically receive free or affordable mental health care through their school’s facilities. However, other options are available in the community, like MHAET, to help people find the needed resources. Young adults can choose whether they want to meet with a therapist, join a group therapy program, contact a call center, or simply watch self-care videos online. There are a lot of options, and you can explore what will work best for you. Face-to-face and online support options are available now more than ever, due to the pandemic.
The second step is to reach out to peers and friends for support.
You can also talk to them about what has worked for them. Hearing peoples’ different experiences can make getting help easier. It can also make it seem not as scary because you know that you are not alone. Having friends to talk to can help during difficult times. And when we discuss mental health and resources, it can help end harsh stereotypes surrounding getting help.
Lastly, routinely practice self-care and make sure to create time for hobbies and other activities that interest you.
Joining clubs, volunteering, creating art, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and meditating are just a few examples of how you can maintain your well-being. Being physically healthy by eating well and exercising also has a huge impact on your mental health. Make sure to take care of yourself! Encourage others to stay healthy and reach out when you or someone you know starts to struggle.