Doing This Can Change a College Student’s Life Over Spring Break

As the mom of two college age adults returning home for break, I will be forever grateful if you do this one very awkward thing this spring:

Start a conversation with a young person about depression. It won’t be easy. Most will be hiding behind a phone or some other screen. Truth is, they may be “screening you out”. But, chances are, according to recent reports, they may actually feel like crap and have no idea how to talk about depression, what it feels like or who to ask for help.

Ok, I admit there is no graceful segue from sex scandals, mass killings and the threat of nuclear war to depression. It’s all pretty depressing and anxiety-provoking. So why not share a story — a positive one — about a person who is coping openly with the challenge of anxiety or depression.

Go for it: You could be one sentence away from changing someone’s life, or saving many, as we’ve seen from recent news.

I’ll even give you a few slightly awkward but passable starters: “Hey, Jim, how’s your mental health now that you and Aunt Molly are retired?” Or, “Mind if I pull up a chair next to you so we can talk about really depressing things other than [insert name of sexual predator, legislation or natural disaster]?”

Too awkward, you say? Here’s a reality check: Young adults today already think you are the definition of awkward, so you’ve got nothing to lose. In fact, they fear their voices are being shut down.

Young adults today don’t seem to fear awkward — they fear not being heard.

Please, don’t make me say it twice. If there’s any time that this touchy topic might, comparatively speaking, feels like a safe one? I’d say it’s this one. Thank you.

I often post resources and positive stories on Twitter and on Forbes.com. I believe in being open and honest about #mentalhealthawareness and in spreading stories of #strengthsnotstigma.#diversity #learningdisability #disability #suicideawareness