By: Alivia Melius
Staying home calls for staying positive. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and students at Tussey Mountain are learning to cope with the social changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many students have taken on new hobbies during social distancing to keep themselves busy.
“I’ve always liked doing things that make me feel better about myself, so I’ve really taken an interest in my exercise and making things like bracelets or paintings,” junior Alexa Melius said. “I used to only do these things in my spare time; but since I have been working at these things everyday, it has really brought up my attitude towards myself.”
“I realized that I matured a lot faster than I should have,” senior Shellbe Figard said. “I cook for 7 people everyday, and I am constantly helping with schoolwork. I have spent more time with my siblings, and I have started reading more.”
Social distancing regulations have caused plan changes, rainchecks, and cancelations for many activities, but Titans are using this time to focus on what they can do when the counties are back in the green.
“I was selected to be in this year’s NRECA Youth Tour in Washington D.C., but that got canceled unfortunately. I was genuinely looking forward to spending a week meeting many new friends,” Melius said. “After social distancing, I am going to spend lots of time with my friends. I miss them tons, and they are very important to me.”
“If I was not in quarantine, I would be looking for a summer job and preparing for barbering school,” Figard added. “When quarantine is lifted, I want to go out with some friends or my boyfriend Scott and do something fun.”
Students shared some words of wisdom to their peers on staying positive during this time.
“I recommend valuing your time with your family,” Figard said. “One day, they may not be there. You shouldn’t take the little things for granted.”
“Keep your spirits afloat,” Melius added. “Spend quality time with your family indoors. Find things that keep you active, happy, and motivated in order to keep you moving. Keeping yourself motivated will help you avoid negative thoughts about yourself and stay in a positive mindset.”
Social distancing can reduce the risk of contracting illnesses, but for many, it could increase the chances of other dangers within their own homes. During this time, victims of domestic violence are at a higher risk of further isolation. Those struggling with mental illness could be subject to suicidal thoughts or feelings. If you or someone you know is struggling or in a crisis, the following numbers can offer immediate support.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-TALK 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
For ways to understand and cope during COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html for more information.