Brave Space offers a solution for East Lansing public schools

Sabrina SeldonBelynda Cage speaks with an ELHS student at the city’s “School/Public Safety Listening Session” held on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in the Hannah Community Center. After a fight involving students led to a dropped gun outside of an East Lansing High School basketball game on Jan. 19, community leaders, students and parents called for solutions. 

Brave Space founder Alexis Rosado and her mentor Belynda Cage presented one such solution based on mental health at a recent ELHS School/Public Safety Listening Session on Jan. 27 in the Hannah Community Center.

Behind the mask

For her final project in Journalism 410, Samantha Sebestyen produced a video, “Behind the mask,” documenting how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced almost every aspect of students’ lives. Among her peers, she saw mental health issues rise because of the many months of isolation and the additional layers of stress that negatively affected already chaotic lifestyles. “In the past two years, college students have had to deal with the pandemic on top of continuing their education,” Sebestyen said. “On the campus of Michigan State University, a school that went fully online for two and a half semesters and has ever changing COVID policies, students still work to find that balance between working and keeping their mental health in mind.” “Throughout the course of a few weeks, I was able to discuss with several of my close peers to see exactly what they did when things took such a heavy toll on their mental and physical well beings,” she continued.

Students and healthcare workers afflicted w/ COVID-19 share mental health tips

Throughout the country, health professionals and college students reveal ways they are combating the effects of COVID-19 on their mental health. 

According to the CDC, younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported worse mental health, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation. 

CDC suggests some healthy ways to cope with stress. By Molly Gundry

As illustrated in the infographic, the CDC suggests coping strategies with stress and mental health during the pandemic, such as connecting with others and taking time to unwind. Healthcare workers and students across the country, who have previously had the virus, point to ways that helped them cope during the quarantine. 

Health care workers

Debra Aplis, 53, a nurse at a Texas memory care facility, experienced some rough symptoms but ultimately recovered well from the virus. 

Aplis said throughout this pandemic, she experienced depression, mood changes and anxiety. 

However, Aplis found new ways to distract her from the global pandemic and the effect on her mental health. Aplis said she began music therapy, reading and watching music videos on YouTube. After recovering from COVID-19, Aplis donated her plasma for use by those battling COVID-19. 

College students

A Vanderbilt University freshman, Anastasia Franchak, 19, said she spent her entire quarantine in her room. 

Franchak is from Johns Creek, Georgia, outside of Atlanta.

College students in Walled Lake react to another semester online

Several students in Walled Lake, Michigan, a city about 20 miles northwest of Detroit, said they have been put through the fire when classes moved online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them stressed out and voicing their opinions on the workload they have been getting these past few weeks. College students in Walled Lake, which has about 7,000 residents, said they’re like many students in Michigan who are stressed with the added work this semester has given them. Tasks at hand

“I feel like in some ways my workload has doubled even though I’m taking the same amount of credits as I usually do,” said, Emily Goins, an Oakland Community College student. “Learning in a remote environment is very different from learning face-to-face, and personally it is a lot more difficult to retain the information when I am teaching it to myself.”

Oakland Community College (OCC) – Highland Lakes Campus located in Waterford has remained closed for months only allowing calls to the offices of OCC. Credit: Lance Limbo

Oakland University student Sophia Borruso agrees.

New specialty treats mental health with first aid

Capital News Service
LANSING — The number of individuals trained in mental health first aid that help people detect early warning signs of mental illness is growing in Michigan, according to the  Department of Health and Human Services. More than 25,000 Michiganders are trained in mental health first aid, most of them taught as a result of state grants, according to Jennifer Eisner, public information officer for the department. A state grant for nearly $2 million was divided between two  mental health services providers, according to Beverly Ryskamp, supervisor at one of the grant’s recipients, Grand Rapids’ Network 180. “It’s (Mental Health First Aid) to reduce the stigma and to help people be somewhat like a first responder,” said Wendy Ludwig, a mental health first aid trainer and St. Joseph Community Health therapist.

Study: mental illness associated with solitary confinement

Capital News Service
LANSING — Many Michigan prisoners suffering from serious mental illnesses or developmental disabilities spend their days in isolated 23-hour lockdown. That might be harmful to their mental health, according to a recent national study published in the American Journal of Public Health. It found that prisoners spending time in what is also called segregated housing are nearly seven times more likely to harm themselves. Some  Department of Corrections officials say they don’t believe that’s the case inside Michigan’s prisons. A daily average of 35 seriously mentally ill or developmentally disabled inmates spent time in solitary confinement for 2013-14, Michigan prison officials said.