According to recent research about trends in crisis hotline use, young people who texted Crisis Text Line dealt with more grief, eating disorders, stress, and anxiety in 2020 than in previous years. Grief was the issue that increased the most for young people from 2019 to 2020.
What is grief? Grief is a natural response to loss. Grief is expressed in many different ways and it can affect every part of your life; your emotions, thoughts and behavior, beliefs, physical health, your sense of self and identity. Grief can cause you to feel many different emotions such as: sadness, anger, anxiety, shock, regret, relief, overwhelm, isolation, irritability or numbness.
Everyone experiences grief differently. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. The process of grief is unique to the individual, and each individual begins to create new experiences and habits that work around their loss. Michele, an undergraduate student who helped create Neolth's Grief and Loss video series, shared thoughts on how grief has affected her, “I will never not miss the loved ones I have lost, which sparks grief. With time it gets easier and becomes dull, but it's been seven years since losing my mom and I still think of her and grieve for her every day. I suppose I’m still young and those thoughts may change, but I don’t think they will. When you lose someone you love so deeply that emotion does not go away, but instead is converted to grief.”
Ways to help yourself if you are grieving include:
Asking for help
Joining a support group
Talking to family and friends
Spending time doing things you enjoy
Taking care of your physical health
Talking to a therapist
Ways to help others if they are grieving include:
Asking them how you can help them
Asking how they are feeling
Sharing memories or talking about the person they have lost
Encouraging them to seek professional help
Spending time with them doing activities that they would enjoy
Since many students are experiencing grief and loss as a result of the pandemic, the Neolth team partnered with two undergraduate students to create a video series about the topic for their app. The Neolth app is a resource that helps students feel connected to peers that have gone through similar challenges. Neolth’s community section includes educational videos about mental health, student videos about their lived experiences, livestream events, and real-time crisis care referral.
In May 2021, Neolth partnered with students Hadlie and Michele to create a video series about their lived experience with loss. Michele, a Middlebury College Student, shared the pain of losing her mother to cancer. “I felt very victimized by my loss and alone in my grief, but over time I realized how common and dynamic grief is. Just this past year, seniors lost their graduation, athletes lost their sports seasons, and so many people lost their loved ones throughout the pandemic. As painful as grief is, loss is unavoidable and ever present. To get through it, I have learned to lean on my friends and community and have found ways to grow from it. I no longer let my grief define me; it’s changed me, made me stronger, and by accepting it as something I will always bear, I refuse to let it consume me.” A truly inspiring woman, after losing her mom Michele become a grief counselor at a summer camp for children struggling with loss.
The other student featured in Neolth’s Grief and Loss series is Hadlie, who lost her long-term boyfriend during the pandemic. She is brave in sharing her story even though her pain is still fresh. Hadlie shares that she is grateful for the experience of loving someone and opening up her heart. She discusses how the initial impact of grief impacted her life, how she took time off from school to heal, and how sharing her story is part of that process. In her videos, she encourages others to not be afraid to reach out for help if they are struggling with depression and thoughts of self-harm.
While grief can be an uncomfortable topic for people, it’s important to talk about it - especially in light of the past year. For people who are struggling with grief and loss and for schools who want to support their students, Part One of Neolth’s Grief and Loss video series is available now in the Community Section under Student Stories. Our heartfelt gratitude to Michele and Hadlie for the courage to share their stories. Their strength has inspired us all.
Neolth is an app that helps counselors keep track of their students between appointments. Counselors are able to monitor student stress levels, health symptoms, and level of engagement in mental health activities. Counselors can encourage students to set weekly health goals and check if students have been meeting them. All of the activities on Neolth are self-guided and the app makes personalized recommendations for students, so counselors don’t need to do anything except tell their students about the app. Students have access to relaxation and SEL practices such as mindfulness, creative art, cognitive behavioral therapy, breathing exercises and more. They also can use Neolth’s community section, which includes educational videos about mental health, student videos about their lived experiences, livestream events, and real-time crisis care referral. For students whose school doesn't offer Neolth, you can download the app directly on the Android and iOS App Stores.
Neolth was built by healthcare and education professionals, in partnership with 250 students. Learn more in this 2-minute explainer video or by contacting our team of education professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org