I recently came across a headline that didn’t surprise me but was certainly unwanted news: CDC poll results suggest that one in four young adults has thought about suicide during a pandemic. Even if you have not had suicidal thoughts, you may experience increased anxiety or depression during this time of national and global unrest. I admit, I’ve noticed some of the negative effects current events are having on my sanity.
In particular, I find my thoughts drifting into a desolate existential area. My fear is not going well either. When I was just starting to see some improvements in this area, the coronavirus pandemic brought new fears and worries that I wasn’t expecting. I guess I’m not the only one who’s had some breakdowns in the past few months.
The reality for young adults
The future of Gen Z and Millennials looked problematic enough even before a pandemic. Last December it was reported that Millennials were only owned 3.2 percent of the nation’s wealth, though to be America’s greatest generation. Still, Millennials and Gen Z are often criticized for not achieving the same things or achieving the same milestones as our parents or grandparents of the same age.
We all know that we did not choose these circumstances. We didn’t choose a global pandemic in the middle of our young adulthood. Neither have we opted for a broken political system that offers less-than-ideal candidates (and parties) to run our already divided country, an outrageously expensive health system or a structure for higher education in which students participate in their adult lives To begin a massive life need amount of debt. But we have to deal with these things – and it becomes overwhelming for many of us.
The events of this year have turned young adults from the “burnout generation” to a generation that is seriously beginning to wonder whether early death is preferable to our present reality. How did we get here? As consultant Geremy Keeton notes,
The 18- to 24-year-old age group is at an advanced stage of budding dreams, educational activities, careers, aspirations, new expectations, and identity formation. All are based on new and evolving social connections. But all of these will be blocked or hindered during COVID. Shutdown of life. Without something spiritually solid under our feet and deeper connections beyond our present circumstances, hopelessness sets in.
Hope for the hopeless
When I was doing my chaplain internship earlier this year, I learned about the HOPE assessment – a tool that chaplains use to identify the sources of hope, comfort, and strength in a patient. It looks like this:
H – What are your sources? hope?
O – Are you a member of one Organized religion?
P – do you have any? Spiritual Practices do you find it helpful?
E – Do your beliefs have any? Effects on Nursing You receive?
During this time, when hope is beyond one’s grasp, it can be useful to take a piece of paper and write down your answers to the first three questions.
In my encounters with patients, I found that many of them would point to family and friends as sources of hope. It was those who expressed strong feelings of loneliness who tended to have more significant feelings of hopelessness. Unfortunately, this pandemic has seriously affected our ability to do community the way we always have. Be sure, but find ways to connect with a community. You may need to get creative, but we all need community. We cannot face the realities of the present or the unknowns of the future alone.
Also, find spiritual practices that work for you. Whatever helps you know the presence of Christ (our ultimate source of hope) in your life – do it. Maybe it’s a walk in nature or reading some ancient Christian scriptures or a mindfulness meditation centered on Christ or spending time in prayer. Whatever it is, choose a practice that you can commit to frequently.
After all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may want to speak to a friend, family member, or a trusted pastor or mentor. Likewise, there is no shame in seeking professional help. When you feel a sense of hopelessness and want to talk to someone, Boundless is a family focus ministry offering a one-time free consultation with a licensed professional Christian counselor. To reach our advisory service by phone, give us a call 1-855-771 HELP (4357) weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (mountain time). Please leave your contact information so an advisor can call you as soon as possible. The advice is available to you free of charge. You can also contact our advisors online by filling out ours Application form for counseling.
Remember, you are not alone. By sharing our hopes and fears, we encourage others to do the same. What are your current sources of hope? How do you fight How can we pray for you? Feel free to comment on Social, DM us on Facebook or Instagram or send us an email.
As Christians, we know that we are not defined by statistics. we are defined by Who God says we are. Let us help one another today to lean into this truth.
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