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Strategies for coping in a pandemic

Doing things that take your mind off the pandemic, like taking a nature walk, can help. (Chuying Huo/YJI)

With a global coronavirus pandemic causing many young people to suffer mental health issues they’ve never had before, some youth may be looking for strategies to deal with what they are facing.

Luckily, we can help. Youth Journalism International reporters interviewed mental health professionals from many different countries, asking for their tips to help youth cope. This is what they told us:

  • Immerse yourself in as many activities that divert your attention as much as possible. This could be things such as cooking, journal writing and photography.
  • Make a schedule
  • Do mindfulness exercises
  • Be positive
  • Have a safe place and boundaries
  • Do things that are soothing, comforting, distracting and grounding

They also said some things that weren’t necessarily coping strategies but were still good to remember in these uncertain times.

“It’s really important that no one takes anything on that they can’t handle,” said Sara Sirati, a psychotherapist in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

Young people who want to offer support for friends also need to remember their own limits, according to Sirati.

“It’s not selfish to recognize that sometimes we can’t help somebody,” Sirati said.

This story was reported by Aileen Cevallos in Quito, Ecuador; Nisha Chandar-Nair in Lincoln, England; Chuying Huo in Ontario, Canada;  Katrina Machetta in Spring, Texas and Nivetha Nandakumar in Cardiff, Wales.  It was written by Alyce Collett in Melbourne, Australia. Chuying Huo made the cover photo.

Covid Mood is a global project by Youth Journalism International examining how the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 impacted mental health among the world’s young people. Its 17 news stories and accompanying photos and illustrations are by 21 students from a dozen nations on six continents. Together, they interviewed 56 teenagers and young adults in 18 countries and mental health professionals from five different nations. All Covid Mood stories are accessible here.

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