Social isolation is challenging, especially for children and teens. With schools closed and many typical activities like playdates, museum visits and trips to the movies off-limits, it’s hard for parents to know what to do. We spoke to two local experts on how to manage your child’s social isolation. Here are their tips
Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom was the man who taught me that when you have a dream or mission, the worst enemy you can have is idle time. That was 2009. Ever since then, I found myself listening to Nipsey Hussle every day. His messages of hope carried me through dark times. He was the voice that inspired for nearly a decade. Not just me, but millions. So when news broke that he was killed in his clothing store in March in Crenshaw, Los Angeles, I was not the only person who cried and mourned for the late great.
R, a second grader at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in the Bethel Park School District, is like her classmates in many ways. She loves cheetahs, jumping in big piles of leaves and watching the Lego Avengers save the world from bad guys. Science is her favorite class, especially learning about weather, as she hopes to become a meteorologist one day.
R, whose first initial is used to protect her privacy, also identifies as non-binary. “I'm not a girl, not a boy,” R said. “I’m just me.”
GLAAD, a national nonprofit that promotes LGBTQ acceptance in media, defines non-binary as a term used by individuals “who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman.” Non-binary is different from transgender, which GLAAD defines as people “whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”
Because most research on population does not include non-binary as a gender category, it is hard to say how many Americans overall identify as non-binary.
A few dozen students sat at long cafeteria tables, each with a blank paper figure in front of them. They would spend the next hour decorating the figures in a way that represents their identities.
“The word of the day is ‘identity,’” art teacher Lauren Rowe said, giving directions to the West Mifflin Area High School students.
The activity was part of a November joint meeting with the school’s gay-straight alliance [GSA] and the Stand Together Team mental health club. After the meeting, the figures were displayed in the hallways. To protect students’ identities, there were no names attached to them. “We want our school to see how we proudly identify ourselves,” said Rowe, who also serves as the Stand Together Team faculty sponsor.
Mental illness was a label I always knew, but one that I never thought described me. The label was given to me in my early childhood and, from then on, I tried to make peace with the fact that I was “ill.” I twisted and turned the label in my head, trying to figure out what it meant for me and how it fit into my life.
To put in perspective how widespread mental health conditions are, consider this: About one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Mental illness will affect one in five Americans at some point during their lifetime.