Resources for mental distress
Through school, my professional experiences, the literature reviews conducted for this research project, and all the time spent scrolling through social media I have come across many resources that may be helpful for you or anyone going through mental distress. To read my full blog post: Association Between Loneliness and Suicide Ideation Among College Aged Adults During the COVID-19 Lockdown.
Help Identifying the warning signs of someone considering suicide:
IS THE PATH WARM? is a tool typically used by counselors to assess if a person if having thoughts of suicide or indicators to look for. I learned this mnemonic from the suicide training being taught at my job and thought this could be useful for others! Check out the links for in depth descriptions for each section. Sources from Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Assessing Suicide Risk and American Counseling Association: Suicide Assessment Mnemonic.
Peer Reviewed Literature Used
Suicide Ideation Among College Students: A Multivariate Analysis
Testing a Model of Suicide Ideation in College Students
Prevalence and predictors of suicide ideation, plans, and attempts during college
Peer Reviewed Literature Used
Longitudinal Relationships Between Positive Affect, Loneliness, and Suicide Ideation: Age- Specific Factors in a General Population
FOR MANAGING MENTAL DISTRESS
Apps and Writing Activities
The Calm App
This is a great app for practicing mindfulness and anxiety reducing activities. This app is available for free for people who have Kaiser and there are other ways in receiving their services.
MindDoc: Your Companion
This app claims to be developed by psychologists and focuses on daily questions and exercises to help building a better relationship with your mental state. There are other similar apps that could be a better fit for you.
Journaling and drawing is also a source of relaxation to some people. For me, it can at least help get some thoughts on paper and ease some anxiousness. I typically use a physical journal but here are some apps that I found that I think are worth looking into. If downloading another app is something you do not want to do or sounds like a lot of commitment for you right now, I have also tried emailing myself and using the notes app to write. A friend of mine uses voice message recording, there are many different ways to go about doing the same thing.
Reflecty: Journal and AI Diary
Podcasts and audiobooks are helpful in learning more about yourself and how to manage different types of stress. My friend listens to Therapy in a Nutshell and Dr. Tracey Marks on Youtube to help anxiety and its counterparts, manage stressful relationships, and rewire weighing or harmful thoughts. A podcast on Spotify was also recommended called Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast.
The Body Keeps the Score
A book focusing on how the mind handles trauma and how it can leave imprints and memory on the body. One of my favorite books that has come recommended by a lot of people.
Marcus Books is a Black Owned Bookstore In Oakland! Shop for this book locally if possible :)
Lofi music helps me remain calm and focused when I need it. Here is a popular one that you might enjoy! Can also be linked here:
Lofi Hip Hop Music - Beats to Relax/Study to
Thea is a senior at San José State University working towards receiving their Bachelors in Public Health. Her interests have been guided towards serving her local college community in mental health and vaccine hesitancy.
Find me on Linkedin Here
Research Colloquium on human rights and social change 2021: Equity in the age of covid-19
Introduction and Keynote Speaker:
Click the button above to be directed to the full playlist and San Jose State's Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change's Youtube page.
I have been following with great interest all the news over the past several months on who is getting vaccinated and how stories about people’s ambivalence or hesitancy about getting vaccinated are being covered. As someone who has experienced a lot of medical errors, I’m very sensitive to people’s worries about whether the vaccine is safe. At the same time, I have reviewed the epidemiologic research on the development of the vaccines and the investigations into safety concerns and feel confident that the current vaccines being offered in the U.S. are safe and effective. Because of that, I personally feel motivated to try and ensure that others are able to take advantage of these vaccines now that they are available to us, especially people from communities that are currently and historically marginalized by medicine and healthcare. Indeed, like most epidemiologists surveyed by the New York Times, I think the “pandemic won’t really end nationally until more people, including children, are vaccinated.”
One thing I have been following is how much attitudes are changing. The Pew Research Center has been asking people about their attitudes towards the vaccine for a year now. Their data show that the fall of 2020, when we conducted our survey, represented a low point in people’s willingness to get vaccinated. I can believe that, too! It was scary to me, as an epidemiologist, to see how promises of the vaccine coming out quickly were used in the Presidential election campaign.
But since vaccines actually become more widely available, more and more people have gotten the vaccine and the share of the population that says that they do not plan to get vaccinated is shrinking.
A lot of the focus on “hesitancy” can feel misplaced. As Dr. Rhea Boyd, co-founder of The Conversation, a national campaign to provide Black and Latinx communities with information about the COVID-19 vaccine, wrote in the New York Times, “Many are quick to blame ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as the reason, putting the onus on Black Americans to develop better attitudes around vaccination. But this hyper-focus on hesitancy implicitly blames Black communities for their undervaccination, and it obscures opportunities to address the primary barrier to Covid-19 vaccination: access.” Dr. Boyd’s article really got me rephrasing the question “why do people not trust public health?” instead as “What can we in public health do to earn people’s trust?”
And each human interest story about hesitancy tends to only show one small window into what are often really complex pictures. For example, an article in BuzzFeed told a story about how Young Vietnamese Americans Say Their Parents Are Falling Prey To Conspiracy Videos, which they were concerned was turning the older Vietnamese community off of vaccination. But another story on the Vietnamese immigrant community reported Vietnamese Community Emerges Among Alabama’s Most Vaccinated. I’m sure both stories are true.
This is a bit of a nerdy thing to focus on, but so much of how we interpret data depends on who our comparison group is, and when we are working with racialized data, in particular, it’s so important for us to understand why we are comparing one group to another and what we think any perceived differences or similarities mean. That is certainly a lesson I took from Structural Racism, Health Inequities, and the Two-Edged Sword of Data: Structural Problems Require Structural Solutions, a recent article by one of my heros, Nancy Krieger.
While a lot of the early attention was focused on racial differences in people’s willingness to get the vaccine, a Marist Poll from mid April found that, of the dozens of variables they examined, the biggest predictor of a person saying they would definitely not get the vaccine was not race. It was political party: 46% of Republican men reported that they would choose not to be vaccinated. Compare that to the 3% of Democratic women.
A series of articles have come out recently that provided guidance for how to talk with people who might have different perspectives about the vaccine, and specifically, how people who are supportive of vaccination can listen well to people who are hesitant to get vaccinated. I thought this article in the New York Times was particularly helpful.
Sharing information online requires time, dedication to detail and the ability to objectively look for facts. Misinformation is not the same thing as bias - let me say that another way. If you read something and you don't agree with it it doesn't necessarily make that article false. When you are on the hunt for facts you will often face bias.
Part of being an information detective is determining what the facts are apart from bias. We all have bias - it shapes us as human beings. Here's an example: I think the next president should be a woman, my uncle thinks only men should be president. We each are sharing our bias - the fact is that anyone who is a natural born US citizen over the age of 35 and a resident of the US for at least 14 years can be president. You can see how bias starts to make things a little murky.
Let's move on the facts. When you are looking for facts, they should be easy to check (multiple sources share the same information) and originate from reliable sources (like journal articles, newspapers, online databases) NOT social media, movies, blogs, certain websites. Facts will often be mixed with bias. Keep this in mind when you review different sources and always check more than one (maybe more than 3) sources to see how the information is being presented.
A word about social media. Many people get their news and medical information from social media. We saw a huge increase in this during the pandemic and a huge increase in the spread of misinformation. Certain social media sources openly present all sides of an issue like Allsides.com. Beware of sites that post information that doesn't actually make logical sense OR is difficult to find anywhere else. Check bios and see what pages they personally follow - this will help you figure out reliability. Here's a list of my favorite Instagram accounts:
Sharon McMahon (@Sharonsaysso) "My mission is simple: I aim to cover daily headlines, break down national political coverage and biases, and extract the facts. With over a decade of experience in government and law education, I’m committed to using nonpartisan facts as my guide. I break down tough-to-follow political headlines and events through daily news briefings, thought-provoking conversations, historical context, and humor."
Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, Science communication lead for the COVID Tracking Project (@jessicamalatyrivera). Jessica works to dispel COVID myths and educate the general public about vaccinations and how to navigate our changing world.
Laurel Bristow, MSc, Infectious Disease Specialist, Science communicator (@kinggutterbaby). Sassy scientist taking on all things COVID and beyond. She explains science in clear and slightly sarcastic ways which is always enjoyable!
Doctor Beachgem 10 (@dr.beachgem10). Pediatric ER doctor and mom of four. Short, factual information about COVID, variants and vaccinations.
Melissa McClure Fuller
Master of Public Health student graduating in August 2021.
EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE
As we look to the media to inform our actions it can be helpful to have some tips. We have included links to articles we have found and also some tips on how to find good, reliable information online.