Protecting your mental health

Advice from the JED Foundation to manage violent media content.

As the violence in the U.S. and across the world unfolds, we write to share some tips to managing your wellbeing provided by the JED Foundation, an organization committed to strengthening mental health for young adults. Willamette University became a JED Campus in 2021. Staying informed about current and world events is an important component and prerequisite for fulfilling Willamette’s mission of putting “knowledge into action.” It is equally important to notice how you are impacted by your media intake, so you can engage in action in effective ways.

Unfortunately staying abreast of national and world events often means being exposed to violence, which can be difficult to handle, even if you are not directly impacted. Below are resources and advice for how we can honor our well-being in the wake of the challenging content found in the news, online, and on social media:

  • Pay Attention to How You Feel - If you watch a video or read difficult content—whether by accident or on purpose—notice how it makes you feel, and then take some time to process your emotions.
  • Take a Digital Break – Deleting or pausing notifications from social media or news apps for a time can help.
  • Take a Physical Break – Give yourself a break from the constant flow of news and the difficult work of processing it. Go for a walk or do some guided meditation to release the stress and tension in your body.
  • Don’t Share the Video, Share the Life – It can be helpful not to share the video of — or article about — a violent event, and instead focus on the life of the person depicted in it.
  • Find Like-Minded People or Groups – Your presence can serve to support, encourage, and even heal one another.
  • Get Support If You Need It – If you feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to seek some support.

JED reminds us that we do not have to watch all things at all times to stay informed, or to demonstrate care. Consider the choices you can make about how to use your time, how to get information, and how to stay informed, so that you can be at your best in service to others.

Please take good care of yourself, and one another.

Olivia Muñoz, Dean of Students for Community Care & Inclusion – Co-Chair, JED Campus Committee

Don Thomson, Associate Dean for Health and Well-being – Co-Chair, JED Campus Committee

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