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COVID-19 Tips and Resources

March 17, 2020


April 2, 2020

Faculty play an important role in the lives of college students, especially during times of uncertainty. As colleges and universities navigate the constantly evolving changes in response to COVID-19, we recognize that there is much stress and anxiety that instructors need to manage whether they were already teaching online or were recently required to shift to online modes of content delivery for students.

In this webinar, JED’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sofia B. Pertuz, Ph.D. moderated a panel of experts on how faculty can provide support for their students during distance learning while keeping in mind the needs of particularly vulnerable student populations.

COVID-19 Tips and Resources

To read panelist bios, click here.

For a copy of the slides, click here.

For a copy of the transcript from the closed captioner, click here.


April 2, 2020

JED Community,

As we all grapple with the rapidly changing events around us, the team at The Jed Foundation (JED) has, like so many of you, expanded our work to respond to the emerging needs of teens and young adults.

JED is responding to the urgent needs of students, families, college professionals, and so many others who are in need of resources and guidance on protecting mental health right now. Watch this short video with JED Executive Director and CEO, John MacPhee, to learn how we’re responding to this moment.

COVID-19 Tips and Resources

To students, parents, high school and college faculty, and the entire JED community, we want you to know we are here to help. 

Sincerely,
The JED team


March 31, 2020

JED Community,

Many students have left school for their family home and are now taking courses online. For most of us, our routines and daily lives have been upended while isolation and physical distancing become the new norm.

During uncertain times, staying active mentally and physically can help us keep perspective and enhance well-being. In this second installment of our Student to Student email series, JED Student Ambassadors shared some helpful ideas for activities that don’t involve a digital device.

COVID-19 Tips and Resources

What activities do you recommend to someone without social media/computer/internet?

  • Spend at least 15 minutes outside per day. Vitamin D & sunlight can really lift your mood! – Jessica, senior, Pace University
  • Create your own club. Talk to your friends and discover some common passions or activities that you haven’t had time for in the past. My friends and I are having a virtual cooking club, walking club, and painting club! – Jen, senior, Bucknell University
  • Do a 5-10 minute short workout with siblings or family in the living room. Lots of free at-home workouts available here. – Audrey, senior, Middlebury College
  • Play board/card games or create art with your family, whether that’s drawing, painting, embroidering, card-making, collaging. – Audrey
  • Make a time capsule with your family. Gather anything from your house that you think will help you remember this time. Put it in a box and hide it somewhere. It’ll be interesting to take out in a couple years and see what you all had decided to place in the box. – Skylar, sophomore, New York University
  • If you have working parents and you’re currently doubling up as both student and babysitter to your younger siblings, entertain them with some easy DIY science projects using materials you probably already have in your house. Here’s one of my favorites: Make Your Own Lava Lamp. – Skylar
  • Other ideas include reading a book a week, writing letters, doing puzzles, and doing chalk art outside.

JED also recommends integrating a self-care routine into your daily life. Adopting these habits can bring a sense of well-being and improve your state of mind:

  • Set aside time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade.
  • Do activities you enjoy that connect you to regular life.
  • Take deep breaths, stretch, and meditate. These practices enhance a calm and relaxed state of mind.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Good nutrition boosts energy, contributes to a positive mood, and promotes physical health.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Healthy sleeping habits are an incredibly important part of well-being. Good sleep can promote a healthy outlook, improve overall health, elevate mood, help concentration, and increase energy levels and productivity.
  • Avoid alcohol. Overusing alcohol can make things worse by creating additional problems, mood disruptions, and physical depletion.
  • Avoid excessive media coverage. Take time away from the news to focus on the things in your life that are going well and that you can control.
COVID-19 Tips and Resources

For more ideas and tips about creating and maintaining mental and emotional balance, check out JED’s mental health resource pagetips by the CDC, and the Love is Louder Action Center.

Take care,
The JED Team

P.S. People who already are managing existing mental health conditions should prioritize self-care during difficult times and should contact their clinicians if they have questions or concerns. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Text “START” to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.


March 31, 2020

JED Community,

Managing stress and cultivating mindfulness are practices that are always helpful to our overall well-being, and now, during uncertain times, they are more important than ever.

If you find yourself feeling anxious, you are not alone. When stress and anxiety become too intense or overwhelming, it can be a problem for your physical and emotional health. Know the signs of stress in yourself and your loved ones:

  • Not sleeping or sleeping too much
  • No appetite or eating too much, even when you are not hungry
  • Experiencing an increase in headaches, muscle aches, frequent colds, and minor illnesses
  • Taking deep breaths and feeling slightly light-headed when you think about a situation you can’t control
  • Becoming frequently irritable, frustrated, angry, impatient, and/or anxious
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Crying frequently or worrying excessively 
  • Wanting to be alone most of the time
  • Having difficulty giving or accepting help
  • Feeling overwhelming stress that lasts more than a few days
COVID-19 Tips and Resources

Here are some ideas to help you manage stress and cultivate mindfulness:

  • Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat healthy meals.
  • Make time to give yourself a break.
  • Practice relaxation. There are many ways to do this: yoga, meditation, reading, listening to music, or going for a walk.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Focus on what you can control. Try to separate what you can control from what you can’t and let go of what you can’t control.
  • Keep things in perspective. Try to see things as ‘glass half full’ – if you expect things to go wrong or see things in a negative light, you will more likely feel stressed.
  • Focus on the positives. Try to focus on your strengths and the positive things around you.
  • Talk it out. Talk to your family or friends, your medical provider, or a counselor about what you are experiencing.

It’s always important to prioritize your well-being; it’s even more important right now. The above practices can support you in balancing your mental and emotional health, and give you strength and support.

COVID-19 Tips and Resources

More resources:

  • The Love is Louder Action Center provides resources and tips for taking care of physical and mental health, and supporting each other during this time of uncertainty.
COVID-19 Tips and Resources
  • Check out JED’s page on COVID-19 and managing mental health.
     
  • If you notice your friend feels distant or lonely, refer to the tips and resources on Seize the Awkward.
     
  • JED has teamed up with Crisis Text Line to bring you Could be better, tbh, a podcast hosted by Stacy London where she talks to celebrities and advocates about all things mental health. This week, Stacy talks with YouTube sensation Clawdeena about working through tough days, empathizing, and how her vulnerability is empowering others.
COVID-19 Tips and Resources
  • Active Minds has a special online hub for students to support their mental health during COVID-19.

Keep an eye out for upcoming emails that can help us all navigate these uncertain times together.

Be well,
The JED Team


March 26, 2020

JED Community,

Many students have been asked to leave school and dorms abruptly, and some can’t go home to their families. We recently asked some of our JED Student Ambassadors to tell us about how the last few weeks have been, and they shared some insights, tips, and supportive messages that we hope will be helpful to you during this uncertain and stressful time.

COVID-19 Tips and Resources

How has the transition been? It’s normal to have a variety of feelings in response to this transition. Here’s what our JSA members had to share:

  • It’s hard not having social stuff or events.
  • Stressful. I have a lot of international friends who are impacted.
  • Panicked.
  • I feel a loss of identity as a student.
  • Doing OK. Trying to stay active and FaceTime with friends.

What have you found helpful during this time? Here are some tips that may help you cope during this challenging or confusing time:

Connect virtually

  • Look to Instagram to connect with people. – Audrey, senior, Middlebury College
  • FaceTime or video call your friends; this can make you feel less isolated. – Melanie, junior, Robert Morris University
  • Reach out to friends you haven’t spoken to in awhile (especially if they are in shelter-in-place, other countries, etc.). – Brandon, sophomore, Cooper Union

Create structure

  • Make a schedule for the week. – Saniya, junior, Drexel University
  • Make your bed in the morning because it gets you into a routine. – Skylar, sophomore, New York University
  • Find new ways to set goals in this new daily structure. I am going to try and teach myself the Ukulele and my ultimate goal is to be able to play the song Riptide by Vance Joy! – Jen, senior, Bucknell University

Find ways to relax and take care of your physical and mental health

  • Listen to music and do yoga. – Celine, freshman, Rice University
  • Watch your favorite YouTube videos to make you laugh. Try exercises inside to stay active. – Melanie
  • Try new recipes and get creative in your kitchen; food is always good for the soul. – Skylar
  • Limit exposure to constant COVID-19 news and limit the amount of time talking about the virus with friends and family, and instead talk about other things that are happening in your lives and in the world. – Audrey
  • Limit mainstream media, engineered to get clicks and high viewership, stick to CDC and WHO. – Brandon

Help others

  • Create a fund with friends for those in need of financial support. – Henry, senior, Harvard University
  • Be kind to others, especially those in the service industry. For example, when you get takeout food, ask restaurant employees how they are doing, how their business is doing, and take time to genuinely wish them a better day. Practicing kindness really helps you and others. – Audrey
  • Write out and share gratitude lists or share a time that is full of meaning and happiness on Instagram, and encourage others to do the same. – Audrey
  • Keep in touch with those you care about. I make it a priority to call my friends and relatives on a nightly basis. It doesn’t even need to be about what’s going on right now; just check in, ask them if they did anything new or if there’s anything they want to share. Sometimes, my friends and I would end up just talking about random things, but the point is to check up, show up and be present. – Skylar
COVID-19 Tips and Resources

More resources

  • The Love is Louder Action Center provides resources and tips for taking care of physical and mental health, and supporting each other during this time of uncertainty.
  • Check out JED’s page on COVID-19 and managing mental health
  • If you notice your friend feels distant or lonely, refer to the tips and resources on Seize the Awkward.
  • JED recently partnered with the Crisis Text Line to launch Could be better, tbh, where host, Stacy London, talks with guests about all things mental health. Find the podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to subscribe today.
  • Active Minds’s special online hub for students to support their mental health during COVID-19.

Keep an eye out for upcoming emails, including more insights from the JSA, that can help us all navigate these uncertain times together.

Be well and stay safe, 

The JED Team

P.S. To all the students who feel upset, worried or distressed, your feelings are valid. You’re allowed to feel what you’re feeling. Crisis Text Line is there no matter what emotions you’re feeling. Text Share to 741741.


March 20, 2020

Dear JED Community,

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, many college communities are faced with feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Academic schedules have been disrupted and students, faculty, and staff have had to adapt to different forms of distance learning and working. We applaud your efforts to provide essential support to your students and campus communities during this difficult time. The Jed Foundation is here to offer expertise and resources to help you support the emotional health of your students and campus communities.

Below are some recommendations for supporting your students during this period of online learning. We hope this information will be helpful as you continue to assist your school community while also taking care of yourselves.

Know your institution’s resources. 

Many counseling centers are setting up mechanisms to maintain continuity with the students they have been serving and to triage new student clients. Questions about the limitations of teletherapy have prompted recent shifts in federal guidelines. Some colleges also have food banks or may be setting them up for students in need. Know where to refer students who may be concerned about loans, employment, or graduation, or those who need career guidance, and provide contacts to your institution’s adapted mental health resources if needed (e.g., digital platforms, crisis lines). It’s okay to say, “I don’t know about that, but let me find a contact who can help you.”

Offer support and express hope. 

Emphasize that students are not alone; this is a new context for us all. Provide guidance for anything in your realm of expertise—study skills, time management, or handling anxiety related to new digital formats. If you recently had to shift from an in-person class to online, remind students you believe they can be successful in this new course format while also being mindful that not all students may have access to a computer or high-speed internet service. Convey flexibility about deadlines, assignments, and exams, and encourage students to communicate specific problems or needs that emerge around completing their work. Also be mindful of time zone differences for international students. Employ principles of “active listening.” If a student expresses some concern to you, try to listen carefully at 3 levels: the content of what they are saying, the emotions they are feeling, and their behaviors in response to those thoughts and feelings. It is important to know where to refer students or who to contact if students express things that are concerning or worrisome.

Create channels for communication.

Open a discussion group, specifically for students to talk about what’s going on and how they feel. As an instructor, you would want to monitor and respond to some of the posts students share on social pages. While you should let your presence be known on social platforms, allow students to form connections with each other. This will enable them to crowd source questions that you might not be able to answer yourself, but that others in the group could. If concerned for a student, ask, “Are you ok?” in a private message and know where to refer them for support or other resources.

Promote and practice self-care.

Encourage students to maintain social connections digitally with friends, family, classmates, and others. Remind them that good self-care, like sleep, regular exercise, and proper nutrition, is important to learning. Consider adding self-care tips to the daily lectures and slide show presentations. Remember to also prioritize self-care for yourself. Though you and other online instructors may be students’ only connection to the institution, you do not have to be everything to them. You can be a good bridge to other campus professionals who are also there to provide support for students. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Committee (SAMHSA) offers some helpful tips.

We all want our students to be safe and successful. We want you to feel safe, successful, and supported as well.

Take care,
The JED Team


March 19, 2020

JED Community,

For most young people, everything has changed in a short period of time. Classrooms are empty indefinitely across the U.S. and much of the course work has moved online. For some, their daily support system may no longer be close by. Isolation and social distancing can leave many teens and young adults feeling emotionally and mentally vulnerable.

As young people leave their campuses, it will be an adjustment for everyone. If you are the parent of a college student who is returning home for the rest of the semester, you may be looking for guidance. A recent blog post from Dr. Laura S. Zapanta, a University of Pittsburgh professor, has helpful advice, including how to be mindful of what your student is going through right now, their schedules, and changes to their social life. Check it out.

Find additional resources for managing mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic here. We hope this information helps as we navigate these challenging times together.

Take care,
The JED Team


March 16, 2020

JED Community,

As we all cope with changes due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, parents and caregivers may be faced with a lot of questions about how to support the emotions and mental health of children, young adults, and themselves during these uncertain times.

Please join a webinar happening today, Monday, March 16 at 4 pm ET to learn about strategies and resources on how to support your family and yourself during these uncertain times. The webinar is free and we encourage you to share with others who may be interested. Access the live-stream. It will also be recorded and can be accessed anytime here. 

The JED Team

COVID-19 Tips and Resources

WEBINAR: Resilience, Coping, and Parenting Strategies

In the Midst of Rapid Fire Change & Practicing Social-Distancing: Resilience, Coping, and Parenting Strategies for Everyone

When: Monday, March 16th
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

How are you doing with the quick and ever changing daily stream of information? Are you coping while making big decisions as well as figuring out the day-to-day details for you and your family? Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unsure how to manage your emotions as well as your children?

If you’re like most people, daily life right now feels somewhat uncertain and worrisome as the news of COVID-19, or Coronavirus, changes and impacts life. We’re here to help. This expert panel will answer some of your questions and discuss how to:

  • Cope with uncertainty and anxiety.
     
  • Continue living a purposeful and meaningful life.
     
  • Practice proactive resilience to counter potential feelings of sadness, depression, and helpless.
     
  • Balance “being on vacation” and maintaining structure and consistency in parenting.
     
  • Maintain social contact and strengthen relationships with the people you’re living with (even in small spaces!). 

Panelists:

Anne Marie Albano PhD, ABPP: Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry and Founder of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety in New York. Sound advice for parenting children with anxiety can be found in her book “You and Your Anxious Child” and in her soon-to-be released TEDMED talk.

Jonathan Kaplan, PhD: serves as the Founding Director of the SoHo CBT + Mindfulness Center and author of Urban Mindfulness: Cultivating Peace, Presence, and Purpose In the Middle of It All.

Dean McKay, PhD ABPP: Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fordham University, and Past President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.

Rebecca Sachs, PhD ABPP: Clinical psychologist specializing in Autism spectrum, OCD and severe anxiety. She brings warmth, sensitivity, and a strong sense of humor while working with individuals of all ages, including parenting work.

Hosted and moderated by Elliot Kaminetzky, PhD, Licensed psychologist and founder of myocdcare.com

Access the live-stream. It will also be recorded and can be accessed anytime here. 


March 13, 2020

JED Community,

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, feelings of uncertainty and anxiety continue to arise for students, faculty, and staff. Thank you for your efforts to provide essential support to your students and campus communities. It is extremely commendable during this difficult time. In keeping with our mission to protect the emotional health of young people, The Jed Foundation is here to offer our support during this challenging and unpredictable time.

The following are some recommendations and resources that may be helpful as you continue to support your school community while also taking care of yourself:

  • Continuity of Support Services – Do whatever possible to facilitate ongoing mental health and other support services either in person (we recommend consulting with campus health services and ACHA website to facilitate safety for clinicians and students) or virtually. The following are some important considerations:
    • Recognize that students who are already struggling with significant mental health challenges will be at higher risk in a highly anxious environment. Consider whether there are students with whom it would be prudent to connect actively to check in and offer support.
    • Communicate with your students to determine their preferred method of communication and take the necessary steps to ensure confidentiality across these channels. 
    • Transition wellness/counseling appointments to secure video conferencing platforms or phone calls as needed.
    • Provide IT training and support for counselors and other staff who are not familiar with online teaching methods and technology but need to connect with students virtually.  
    • Keep in mind that, while generally tele-mental health services are expected to have a high level of security, in an emergency these expectations will likely be relaxed. For example, New York State has relaxed these and licensure restrictions during this emergency. You may want to check with your state and local licensing board.
  • Resources for the Campus Community – The following steps may be helpful as you work to continue to support your campus communities:
    • Determine when and how emergency services will continue and communicate these updates to your students in a timely manner. Communicate with any after-hours providers to establish emergency protocols and referral resources.
    • Share information and resources to help students manage anxiety and reduce stress.
    • Assist communication staff with providing accurate messaging.
    • Review emergency procedures to establish any new protocols that should go into effect and communicate these with your campus community.
    • Ensure that your reporting mechanisms and response systems are intact to provide students with a way to report any incidents of bias and discrimination connected to misperceptions about COVID-19.
  • Messaging – Emphasize that students and staff should continually check the school website and email for updates, and ensure communications are clear and direct while acknowledging how challenging this period is for students, their families, faculty and staff. This is a fluid situation and you want to ensure that messaging from your institution is accurate, aligned, and timely. Consider establishing the following:
    • An online, daily communication updating students and families about what to expect.
    • A dedicated helpline for parents and students who have questions including essential contact information for all departments. Consider adding these resources to counseling and health center pages specifically. 
    • Communications urging all students to work to maintain good self care and look for opportunities for positive interactions with others would be valuable.
    • A running list of questions and answers where campus community members can access quick information about classes, events, and services on and off campus.
  • Community Social Connectedness – Work to foster community social connectedness and belongingness by encouraging campus community members to stay connected with each other. Here are a few suggestions you may find helpful:
    • In your messages be sure to include reminders about the importance of staying connected to your campus by maintaining regular communications via email, social media, and other apps.
    • Provide students with names of staff members with whom they can connect in case they are unsure.
    • Reach out to student leaders who can assist with continuing to build community through virtual channels.
  • Self-care – Make time to take care of yourself. It is an uncertain time for everyone, including you. Remember to take it day by day and do the best you can to help yourself, and others.
    • Regular exercise to manage stress is important and so is getting adequate rest and sleep and maintaining good nutrition. 
    • If you have any risk factors or family care demands, try to arrange ways to work from home doing phone triage, follow-up etc. 
    • If you are moving to remote work, set up boundaries so you can maintain personal time and space.  
    • Curb how much news you watch daily and take some time to decompress. 
    • Check in with a friend, colleague, or family member through phone, text, skype, etc.

For more updates and helpful tips and resources check out https://www.jedfoundation.org/covid-19-and-managing-mental-health/.

We hope this information can help you in your efforts to support yourself and your school community.  While this situation of COVID-19 keeps unfolding, remember that we are all in this together and we’re here for you.

Yours in health,
The JED Team


March 11, 2020

JED Community,

News of a widespread public health concern like COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Many students across the nation are dealing with sudden changes to their regular schedules and some are faced with having to quickly leave their campuses without contingency plans yet in place. These developments can be stressful. At the same time, families and school leaders are working to provide the necessary support to their loved ones and students.

It’s completely expected and appropriate to experience fear during situations like these. It’s also important to know how to manage overwhelming anxiety and keep perspective as the situation unfolds. Here are some resources and tips that may be helpful:

We know this situation is challenging. In addition to utilizing these resources, JED’s self-care experts recommend getting adequate sleep, eating well, and engaging in exercise, among other tips for practicing good self-care.

People who already are managing existing mental health conditions should prioritize self-care during difficult times and should contact their clinicians if they have questions or concerns. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Text “START” to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

We’re all in this together and we hope this information can help cultivate perspective and curb anxiety.

Take care,
The JED Team

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