Looking out for the mental and emotional health of young people during the pandemic

MARQUETTE COUNTY — Everyone is concerned with physical health recently in the wake of the coronavirus, but it’s always important to look out for your family’s mental and emotional health as well.

Marquette County Cares is a coalition dedicated to improving the lives of youth in the community. According to Coordinator Jennifer Eyler, this time of isolation can be especially hard on young people. This is a time for parents to be aware of signals that their child might be struggling mentally or emotionally.

Some signals people might think to look for first include signs of self-harm or expressing suicidal thoughts. There are other behaviors young people may exhibit however that can be harder to recognize as symptoms.

“Some symptoms are any sort of change in their eating pattern—that could be loss of appetite or increased appetite—or difficulty sleeping or increased sleeping where they’re sleeping all the time, low energy, if they lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed, or if they isolate themselves more so than they normally do,” explained Eyler. “They may start obsessively exercising or dieting or binge eating, and their temperament might change.”

Eyler says it’s important to take time to evaluate your mental health, especially during a situation like this. Understanding and finding ways to deal with issues before they turn into something bigger can help to prevent further problems.

“People overlook their emotional health or put it on the backburner until it becomes more of a crisis situation,” said Eyler. “And people don’t take time to do that self care, especially when you’re in crisis mode like all of us are where we’re super stressed out with COVID–19. And it’s really important to make sure that you’re assessing your own mental wellness and making sure that you’re feeling alright.”

Anyone in need of help with their mental wellbeing is encouraged to call local 24/7 crisis line Dial Help at (1800) 562–7622 or (906) 482–HELP. You can also contact Dial Help through their website. For more information about Marquette County Cares, click here.