Adolescents dealing with mental health and isolation during the pandemic

The pandemic has been tough for many of us, especially young people.

Anjolina Hamel, 19, is in her second year at the University of Ottawa, and so far it has been tough.

“I felt alone,” Hamel says. “Even though I had group chat and I had meetings online, it still did not feel like it was real life. When I came to university, I feel like it really hit me like a truck. For my first year was online. My second year was online. “

COVID-19 has forced many students to spend most of their time in front of a screen and remove the social aspect of life.

Hamel shares his story on Bell Let’s Talk Day.

“I did not have the opportunity to go out and have a normal everyday life and have those normal things that you do in society,” says Hamel.

Dr. Joanna Henderson is a senior researcher at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. She says it is more important now than it has ever been for young people to say no if they have problems.

“Young people are even more negatively affected by the pandemic than their adult counterparts,” Henderson says. “And so in a time like this, it’s especially important that we have time to take conversations about mental health. That we signal to our young people that we care and that there are services available to provide support.”

A company called 20today20tomorrow started by its founder and CEO, Drayton Mulindabigwi, helps young people access these resources. They developed NFC stickers that give them quick access to online tools.

“If you press your phone over it, they give you access to mental health resources,” Mulindabigwi said. “It was a bit of a goal. To get the young people’s mental health resources in the hands of the young people in a way that is effective and creative and that will make them want to do it because it’s like that, hehe, so cool.”

“Having those little stickers somewhere around campus or somewhere around town, it really helps to have that kind of available and be like, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well today, I just want to press my phone against that sticker ‘and there are resources to help, depending on what I need, “says Hamel.

For Hamel, she says it can be difficult to deal with mental health issues, but taking it one day at a time is the key to success.

“Just to treat yourself with as much respect as you can and preserve your dignity and just be like, ‘Hey, that’s so much I can do today and I’m proud of myself for doing it.’ . “

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