Recommending Some Podcast Episodes on the Mental Health of Young People
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Recommending Some Podcast Episodes on the Mental Health of Young People

Listen to both episodes. You’ll be challenged to think about youth mental health in a much broader sense. Hopefully, you will also see that these are not easy questions to answer and that existing in the world and planning for a future right now is hard. It’s no wonder that young people are struggling. It’s time we start taking serious steps toward making it less challenging for everyone and quit looking for a silver bullet that’ll fix it.

Social Connections Don’t Solve Everything But They Matter, A Lot

Social Connections Don’t Solve Everything But They Matter, A Lot

On the other hand, when we are struggling, our first instinct is often to not get in touch with someone. It’s to isolate. I suspect that is because we live in a world that has been telling us to be positive. That feeling down shouldn’t be shared, lest we negatively influence our friends and be cut out of their lives. (Good vibes only, am I right?)

That’s not the way any of this is supposed to work.

Anxiety and Depression as Evolutionary Response to Adversity

Anxiety and Depression as Evolutionary Response to Adversity

We evolved to feel depression and anxiety in response to difficult experiences because it serves a purpose. We’ve also evolved to depend on each other as a community. One without the other is going to go poorly for us, and I fear that is exactly where we are now. The large increases in rates of depression and anxiety, not to mention what seems like our complete inability to make a dent in the rates of suicide in the US, might just be because of this imbalance.

So be good to each other, and stay connected to each other. It’s what we need most in times of adversity.

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Nothing tells me that we still have a long way to go when it comes to stigma like learning about a clearly distressed young man getting killed on a subway while other passengers sat and watched. Because his situation was uncomfortable. His manic behavior made them uncomfortable and all of the compassion for other people who struggle with mental health issues went right out the window in this case. This wasn’t a well-put-together person speaking calmly, this was very different. The same core issue – mental health – but different results. One group is acceptable. The other not so much.

That’s stigma.

Friendships Matter Much More than the Value We Place on Them
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Friendships Matter Much More than the Value We Place on Them

It’s worth thinking about your friends and recognizing that we need all kinds of friends. We need loose connections, and we need tight connections. We need long-term friends, and we need friends for a season of our lives.

In short, we need each other. I’m afraid this is something that has gotten lost in our culture. It’s certainly gotten lost in our priorities, and I consider myself as guilty as anyone.

I also know that being guilty of not prioritizing friendships has hurt me. It’s likely hurting you. It is hurting all of society. It’s time we started valuing close friendships again.

Want to Support Someone But Don’t Know How, Maybe Just Try “Plus-One”

Want to Support Someone But Don’t Know How, Maybe Just Try “Plus-One”

I recently caught up on some podcasts and came across this idea from game designer and author Jane McGonigal. During an interview on People I (Mostly) Admire, she and Steven Levitt talked more about the idea, but in the most simplistic terms, the idea is this: When you start a conversation, ask someone how their…