But communities also have a powerful impact on individual well-being. They provide solace to those in distress, and company to those experiencing isolation. Recent research has shown that people are lonelier than ever and young people between the ages of 18 and 22 are suffering from social isolation and loneliness more than any other generation (Cigna Loneliness Index). At the same time, ongoing racial discrimination has been shown to cause emotional distress and mental health issues (2018 study).
Here are a few tips to help you find community in times of need:
Step Outside. Try spending more time in a common area on campus, a local cafe or restaurant, or a friendly and safe park. You’re likely to find others there looking for a sense of community.
Reach Out. Look for groups on campus that share something with you–be it your home city, your cultural background, or a hobby. Coming together over something in common is a great way to feel less alone.
Celebrate. Whether it’s a holiday you’ve been celebrating your whole life or something new that sparks your curiosity, open gatherings and festivities are great places to share a positive experience with community.
Maya Angelou wrote that “Since life is our most precious gift, let us be certain that it is dedicated to the liberation of the human mind and spirit, beginning with our own.” On behalf of everyone at the Steve Fund, I invite you to seek out your own community as a powerful way to connect with others and support your emotional well-being.