The 2020 presidential election has been a present topic in American life over the last year, months and weeks. We are a country divided and this election has been framed as a moment when we are making a collective choice about our nation’s future.
Opening space to talk about the election with your mentee is invaluable. Your mentee may not want to talk about this with you, or with anyone, but having a chance to share and be heard, by an adult is an important asset to them.
Your mentee may have a range of thoughts and feelings about the candidates, the election process and results, not to mention everything else that is going on with the multiple pandemics facing our country. They will also have a range of supports to process the results and what comes next. The resources that follow will help you to support your mentee during this challenging and unpredictable time.
Regardless of whether your mentee engages in a conversation about the election, now is an important time to do a check on their emotional well-being. Remind them that you are there to support them and give them a gentle nudge to practice self-care. If you learn of a dramatic change in their daily routine (i.e. changes in sleep schedule, eating pattern, social engagement, etc.) contact your PM. We do not provide diagnosis or advice, but we can refer your mentee to on campus or community resources.
Before talking to your mentee, watch this video on Courageous Conversations. It will provide you with some tips and tools on how to approach having a conversation about a challenging topic.
Prompts for Communication:
When you connect with your mentee, let them know that they can safely share their thoughts and feelings with you and that is perfectly fine if they don’t want too. Before diving into the topic of the election results do a general check-in:
- How have you been resting? How is your family? What is one thing that you’ve been doing for enjoyment?
- How is your program going? Have there been any changes to your program due to COVID?
- Give space to talk about the election, here are some tips for self-care to share with your mentee:
- Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you feel.
- Connect with a trusted friend if you need space to process.
- Limit news consumption and social media to avoid triggering messages.
- Find ways to disconnect. Take a walk, try a meditation or new exercise, cook, enjoy nature.
- Carve out time to process.
Begin Within – Prepare yourself to talk about race, racism and other difficult topics with students.