The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on how much help matters. The pandemic has taught us how important it can be to have access to support resources and safety-nets and also how critical systems of care are within communities. It can be really hard to ask for help. Self-reliance has been documented as a core value nationally. Although it is a trait that has utility, it’s also self-limiting. Somewhere along the line cultural beliefs shifted to characterize asking for help as a sign of weakness. There is a certain amount of vulnerability in seeking support from others, even those to whom we are close. Additionally asking for help is often perceived as incurring a social debt or obligation that it might be unclear how to repay. If you are already struggling then losing more control or autonomy by getting someone else involved can feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Remember that success can often mean asking for the support you need.
It can be hard to seek support. When asking for help, make sure the person you’re asking knows how they can be most useful to you. Share with them exactly what kind of help you need, and why. This ensures that the help you get is what you actually need. If you’re scared or tentative about approaching someone to ask for help, remember that many people are willing to help others. In return, make sure you let them know that their support will matter. Connecting their actions to the meaningful impact it will have in your life, can be the difference that makes a difference. When you encounter a roadblock, two heads can be better than one. Even if the person you trust to share your story with can’t help you, often they can brainstorm with you about potential solutions to the challenge you are facing.
Beyond the emotional toll and practical struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, two things are quite clear: 1/ people have come to rely on each other more than ever and 2/ we ALL deserve support and care. Asking for help can be an obstacle that prevents us from getting our needs met. Seeking support from those who love us or from a professional can be rewarding. When we are vulnerable and seek support, others learn from the experience that they can seek support as well. We widen our circle by modeling asking for help. Asking for help isn’t easy or simple, but when help is needed, seeking it may be necessary if you want to be as present (and whole) in your life as possible.
MCU has opportunities for you to seek support. These monthly newsletters are one small way to offer succinct usable information about strategies for fostering good mental health. When paired with services like Care Solace (Links to an external site.), we are hopeful that students are able to connect with the resources they need.