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California Physicians' Service Inc. - Blue Shield of California

09/19/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/19/2020 13:14

In the News: Mashable Features BlueSky Tips For Youth Coping With the Pandemic

Mashable's Rebecca Ruiz wrote about the pitfalls youth need to avoid in dealing with lives upended by COVID-19. In a Sept. 17 story, she notes that Blue Shield of California's BlueSky initiative solicited close to 70,000 tips from young people themselves.

Self-care was indeed one of the major themes that emerged from a new mental health guide produced by DoSomething.org, a community for young people interested in social change, and the BlueSky Initiative, a program to increase mental health access in California schools. The joint project set out to survey teens about their mental health experiences along with tips for coping. More than 50,000 teens participated, and the guide reflects nearly 75,000 tips submitted through the survey.

In addition to self-care, the report found remote learning and helping loved ones were two other major themes for youth. Bryce Williams, vice president of MindBody Medicine at Blue Shield of California, the nonprofit insurance company that runs the BlueSky Initiative, says being of service to others showed up time and again as a coping skill in the survey results. Teens wanted to support family and friends while contributing to their communities by delivering food to older neighbors, sewing masks, volunteering at food banks, or starting their own service projects to help people in need.

'It wasn't just about, 'What am I doing to help me?' says Williams.

Survey participants seemed to step in where they felt adults had failed in handling a public health emergency, economic collapse, and civil unrest. This led to feelings of anxiousness but also helped teens develop a greater sense of agency over unpredictable circumstances. Williams says the respondents simultaneously held complex feelings like sadness, anger, confusion, and the desire to make a difference. Williams suggests they acted out of frustration, despair, and determination as if to say to the adults in charge, 'Come on, guys, get your act together...we're not just going to complain...we'll start to do something about it in the arenas we can control.'