This year’s back-to-school season is anything but normal. My 19-year-old daughter, who is just beginning her second year in college, is certainly feeling the stress that so many other students are feeling as they navigate their virtual class schedules and the “new normal” that everybody is talking about. With all that is happening around our nation, this school year may prove to be the most stressful yet for our youth.
With so many schools teaching remotely, this time has also proved difficult for parents and caregivers who are helping students to cope, and for employers who want to support their employees as they balance work and family through the pandemic. At Blue Shield of California we don’t have all the answers, but we are proud that our BlueSky program has worked with DoSomething.org to help youth, parents, and educators deal with the stress of COVID-19 and the disappointment of missing back-to-school traditions like homecoming, sports and more that have been altered or cancelled.
Back in April, just when phase one of the pandemic was picking up steam, Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky initiative announced “The New State of Mind” campaign in collaboration with DoSomething.org. The idea was simple: tap DoSomething’s vast network of young people to crowd-source tips that can help youth combat anxiety, reduce stigma, and encourage help-seeking.
By the end of June, more than 74,000 tips were submitted by young people from around the nation. That data has been used to create two new resources:
- A first-of-its-kind digital mental-health guide with tips generated by teens, for teens, to help combat stress in their everyday lives, especially during the pandemic.
- A data-driven report for parents and teachers that highlights students’ mental-health concerns and trends since shelter-in-place orders became widespread in March. This insightful guide highlights some of the fears – and hopes – of our younger generation as they look toward their future.
Visit our BlueSky website to view the guides and learn how teens are coping and helping their peers, as well as how you can be an anchor of support for youth, parents, coworkers and educators in these uncertain times.