This election season has raised several difficult topics including race, immigration, and women’s issues. These issues, while important to many, can be particularly important to underrepresented populations.
In a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, over half of Americans say the presidential race is a “somewhat or very significant source of stress.” Instead of feeling as though we are progressing as a nation in a “post-racial” society, for many marginalized groups, they report feeling as though we are going backwards. For those of us following this election, it is important to consider how we can begin to address election stress as the election soon approaches.
If you feel emotionally impacted by the election, take time to disconnect from all of the media surrounding the election and campaigns. Spending time away from social media, TV, and news apps can allow a much needed break when feeling overwhelmed with information. Another way to reduce stress is to educate yourself on the policies and platforms of each party member. In particular, learn how both parties address social justice concerns that are important to you. With election day soon approaching, consider the impact that your vote can have in protecting your values and go out and vote for the candidate who best aligns with your social justice views as a means of being an advocate.
There may be times you find you are emotionally triggered by events related to the election and are unsure how to cope with those emotions. If you are feeling chronic stress or having other emotional reactions, it may be a good idea to speak with a mental health professional. Student Counseling Services (SCS) offers free, confidential mental health services for all students and is a safe place to talk about stress related to the election. SCS’s mission is to provide a safe, welcoming, affirming environment for all students and therefore has counselors who can support students by providing culturally competent care.