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COVID-19 Mental Health Tips

 COVID-19 Mental Health Tips 
All right so okay so hi everybody sowe're back with another installment of a coping with COVID-19 or just generallymental health we're in this video so as a reminder I'm Ross and this is Sallytogether we're your counseling service faculty team and today we have a specialguest Margaret Thomas who's one of our libraryfaculty members and here we're just here today to talk a little bit about medialiteracy specifically social media literacy given the the volume ofinformation that comes across social media we just thought it might behelpful to talk about how about how to manage that and protect your mentalhealth while you're in that stream of information yeah yeah if I can jump intoo Ross and Margaret it's just so I think it's such a vital topic right nowbecause I I know for myself and Ross you and I've talked about this that manystudents we're working with are experiencing a lot of anxiety orfeelings of depression or hopelessness and when we talk to them about it we cankind of track it back to some of the information or misinformation thatthey're ingesting through their social media feeds yeah and I was especiallyintrigued by this topic because of some recent research that's been done thatshows that people who are especially vulnerable to extremist ideas are oftentargeted by some of the ugliest and most negative memes on social media and themajority of those memes have to do with actually trying to promote racialhatreds so that was interesting to me and the good news is that there are sometools that you can use to cope with this flood of 

information on social media orjust on the web in general and the one that we're going to talk about today iscalled SIFT so just a four-step method for quickly determiningif something that you see on social media is worth your attention or if youshould just move on oh okay so sit when you say sift is that SIFT yeah likesifting through the news appropriately and SIFT is an acronym to remind usabout these four steps should I talk about the four steps now or yeah yeahI'm very curious to hear about that that'd be greatso SIFT is part of an initiative called the digital polarization initiative andthe idea is to try to improve civic discourse by developing web literacy andcollege undergraduates and so the idea behind SIFT is that when you comeacross a piece of information let's say on social media first you want to beaware did it trigger some strong emotional reaction and that is often ared flag that it may be misinformation or disinformation and so the first stepthe S in SIFT is stop so if you feel that strong emotional reaction don'tshare what you found but stop because it may be misinformation and then thesecond step investigate the source so I stands for investigate the source andone of the ways that you can do this that I find really intriguing it doesn'talways work but it often works is to go to Wikipedia and check the source of theinformation what is the consensus online about thatsource of information and you can see in just a few seconds what what theconsensus is about whether this is a credible source of information or notand then the third step see if you can find better coverage is this informationcovered in more mainstream news media so so first of all see if it if it turns upthere that might reassure you that it's been vetted and is accurate information and then the fourth step the T in SIFT is totry to trace back these claims and quotes and pictures to the originalsource and Google actually offers a probably all 

browsers offer a tool fordoing that where you can put in a link to a picture and it gives you a methodfor tracing that back so you can see where that picture actually came fromoriginally so within an average of about 90 seconds you can decide whether apiece of information is accurate or whether you should skip it and move on can we go through the SIFT one more timejust real quick so S is stop and you know i don't need to tell the two of you thatso this is the the idea that you know it triggers our amygdala right it triggersthat anxiety response that emotional response and that is exactly what a lotof these memes on social media are designed to do to trigger an emotionalresponse because then you're more likely to share it and it's more likely to goviral yeah and that is of benefit to the social media companies in terms of theirmonetary gain from that sharing yeah so this is I mean it seems in on one levelobvious stop but but it's really hard to do I can say with with folks sittingwith them as a therapist with all sorts of kind of amygdala reactions if youfeel something strongly I like and it's like an emotional current like a riverwould have a current and it's gonna pull you in a direction and it's hard to toget out of the current to pull over to the side and not let it just take youinto a quick share right it's interesting yeah it's interesting RossI'm glad you're bringing that up because that makes me think about some of theother things that we've talked with students about for kind of managingstrong and powerful emotion is maybe it's stop and take a breathyou know big breath in and out or a couple of breaths in and out to justsettle that amygdala response before and that might help with the stopping andthen that might kind of get ones frontal lobes and critical thinking back onlineto then do the next thing which is the investigate right that I stands for 

investigate but but even just that stop step it seems so critical to begin to atleast notice that we had an emotional reaction to a piece of information yeah andwe start to see that as a red flag yeah and and do the other three steps maybeyou just stop and maybe that's enough it seems to that that can be so powerfulMargaret because the stop also can help interject some choice and consciousnessand intentionality about what the next step will be well I keep doing the siftof investigate what was the next one fine better coverage find bettercoverage yeah and then trace or like you said maybe it's like oh I don't need todo anything with this I just need to delete this from my feet or just move onI don't need to share it yeah I don't I don't need to be part of the problemyeah right right that's like really important frame you know is that youryou're actually being a part of the solution by doing these these four stepsif you're doing them consistently in terms of helping other people but butalso you know helping yourself it's not really good for your mental health oreven your physical health to be you know to have all these kind of stresshormones that tend to get kicked up when when you have a belief that's reallyevocative but faulty you know we're exaggerated that's just not it's notgood for it's not good for you and if people are ramped up long enough in thisway they can end up kind of getting to an exhaustion phase where they 

feel kind of depressed like low energylow motivation difficulty feeling pleasure in things just feel kind oflistless maybe even hopeless so you know what you're talking this sift is I thinkhas two benefits you know wonderful the greater good the social good but alsoprotecting our own mental and physical oh I guess being aware of what's goingon in the background with some of these bad actors that are creatingmisinformation and disinformation and remember that when you respond tosomething that they send out and you do share or it goes viral you get more ofit now you're targeted more likely to respond to this to these extremistpoints of view and that means that you'll be getting more of it so you knowwhat does that do for your mental health right that's very important it's just soimportant it it but also the analogy I'm making right now as I'm taking all ofthis in and digesting it mentally as I was just thinking it's akin to eatingand what are we ingesting food that's healthy for our emotionalwell-being in our bodies and and then what news are we ingesting and is thatsupporting our mental health and emotional well-being or not and then andthen how are we sharing that out so it's not a yeah it's about ourselves andabout our communities as well yeah yeah Margaret if um if students wanted moreinformation or you you know if they're a website where they can get moreinformation about SIFT yes think about other resources there there is a websitewhere they could learn more about it and I'd be happy to put that up and the goodnews is that at least one English instructor at the college is teachingthis now and she's been really excited about the results she's found thatstudents really respond to it and they really appreciate having just a quickway I don't have a long time to spend figuring out if a source is accurate butif it only takes me a few seconds maybe I can do that at least I have some toolsfor how to do that so yeah I'd be happy to put up a website where students canget more information and Sally I thought it was really important what youwere saying earlier about the impact of social media on on students and all ofus and how that how that leads to anxiety and depression so just justbeing aware of that I think is important thank you so much Margaret for beingwith us today and we'll get that information the web link attached at theend of this this presentation well thank you so much for inviting me this hasbeen terrific really great yeah and yeah so as a reminder the counseling servicewhile we're in session through the end of spring quarter and then in duringsummer as well we're available to you via Zoom and Margaret I think you andthe librarians are available to help folks too if they have if they want somespecific consultation around this you can just go to the library website andyou'll find all the information about how to reach us greatso keep the library in mind for your future endeavors and as you're exploringhow social media impacts your mental health and emotional well-being and keepcounseling services in mind as a reminder you can always reach us atcounseling at spscc dot edu take good care