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Bad World News – Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you’re feeling upset, scared or anxious about current world news, we’re here for you.

The events happening across the world over the last few weeks are distressing and worrying for people across the globe. We’re hearing frightening news and seeing upsetting scenes on our TVs and social media feeds. Many of us feel sad, fearful, confused and worried for the people who are caught up in the midst of war –and for the potential implications across the world.

Coping with waves of negative news and scary situations can take its toll on your mental health and increase your anxiety levels. While we can’t promise you that everything will be OK, we CAN arm you with a few tools to help protect your mental health during these turbulent times.

Distressing Images & Events

At times like these, there’s a very real risk of seeing something upsetting online or on your TV. It’s normal to feel worried, anxious or scared by distressing images you’ve seen and it’s important to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. You can reach out to a parent or family member or talk to a teacher at school if you’d rather speak to someone outside of your family.

You might also feel worried that you’ve done something wrong – you may have been on a website that’s for over 18s, for example. Please don’t worry about getting into trouble – the most important thing is your safety and getting the right support to help you deal with your emotional well-being.

It can be difficult to forget the upsetting stuff you’ve seen, especially when talk of war and refugees is all around us. It can make you feel upset and anxious, and you may be having nightmares. Talking about how you’re feeling can really help you process your thoughts and deal with your emotions.

Read more about dealing with upsetting content online here: https://ionpadel.com/for-me/online/online-safety/i-saw-something-upsetting-online/

Will There Be World War III?

Remember: no-one KNOWS for sure what these events will mean for the rest of the world, least of all the shouty and opinionated people on your Facebook feed. There will be lots of speculation and scaremongering about World War III, nuclear weapons and other frightening war talk but it’s important to recognise that this is purely opinion. In fact, much of this will be wild speculation, conspiracy theories or propaganda, designed to cause panic, fear and upset. That’s why it’s so important to get news from reputable sources – to make sure you’re getting a clear and concise picture of events and not orchestrated ‘spin’.  

Fake News & Misinformation

Now, let’s loop back to fake news. It’s important to recognise that not all news is real news. The problem with fake news is that it spreads deliberate lies about a person, place or situation and makes everyone believe that what they’re reading is true. This can spread fear and panic.

Your social media is probably awash with images and videos portraying war-torn areas and the innocent people who are being bombed, injured and killed. Some of these will be genuine; others will not. To check if a story or post is genuine, see how it measures up against this six-point credibility checklist:

  • Does this seem believable, like something that could really happen?
  • Does the video or image look completely genuine?
  • Is the story from a reliable source, such as a local news channel or station?
  • Has the story been reported elsewhere online?
  • Is the story also on TV or published in newspapers?
  • Does the website the story is hosted on seem legitimate?

If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these checks, you should do a bit more research of your own. Chances are, if something is wildly far-fetched or seems too-good-to-be-true, it’s fake news.

Read more about fake news here: https://ionpadel.com/for-me/online/online-behaviour/fake-news-the-facts/

I Feel So Helpless

It’s completely normal to be experiencing feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Lots of us are feeling this way, which is why it’s so crucial to talk about it and lean on one another. Most of the world is united in this grief and together we stand strong. While there’s strength in numbers, we need to focus on coping with our own individual feelings of helplessness and anxiety, too. Here are some ways you can look after your own mental well-being:

  • Grounding techniques can help you cope when things are getting too much – they help to connect you to the here and now when you feel overwhelmed by feelings of panic and anxiety. By engaging your senses, you can help to distract yourself from these scary feelings. Try picking up a book and reading for a short while; going out for a brisk walk; finding five red things in the room you’re standing in; or playing a calming playlist. Read more about grounding techniques here: https://ionpadel.com/for-me/mental-health/anxiety/grounding-techniques/
  • It’s OK to take a step back from the events around us. Take time out to focus on yourself. Spend the day doing the things you love to calm the mind, body and soul. Check in with friends and spend time with loved ones.
  • Choose to follow positive news for an instant boost of feel-good hormones – https://thehappynewspaper.com/?v=fbe46383db39 has lots of heart-warming stories from across the world about happy news and good outcomes. It might be hard to believe at times but there really are good things happening across the world – they just tend to get drowned out by the upsetting stories.
  • Endless posts about world events can leave you feeling distressed, deflated and anxious so it’s a good idea to limit your news and social media intake – take a day off or set yourself a daily time limit. Mute, block or unfollow people who spread fake news, misinformation or distressing images. If there’s a particular platform that makes you feel overwhelmed, delete it. Find positive accounts to follow and focus on the good side of social media.

We hope these tools help you cope with the upsetting events that are unfolding around us. As always, please reach out if you need more support. Talk to family, friends, or an adult you trust about how you’re feeling and don’t suffer alone. ❤️

Curated by

Sian Dolan
Sian Dolan is a content writer for Hidden Strength with a background in children’s and teenage magazines. She feels it’s more important than ever to write supportive, engaging features for young adults who need a guiding light and a helping hand with their mental health and wellbeing.