Euphoria and Mental Health – Are your friends crying out for help like these characters?

Like many of you, I too have been waiting for each Sunday to arrive so I could see the next episode of the drama filled HBO series Euphoria. While the chaos that ensues at East Highland High School seems to be a different planet from the high school I went to, which some would describe as “rural Ohio” (aka Louisville, Ohio) – the drama is entertaining regardless of believability. Also not believable, how everyone has fresh nails each episode, yet no one has a job…who the hell is paying for all those nail appointments?? 

Each of the characters have very strong personalities and emotions, and whether you support or disagree with their decisions, if you saw a friend acting in the same way it would be labeled as a serious cry for help. So here is how you can help if any of your friends are acting like the following characters  

  • Maddy has all the confidence, the trouble is she struggles with caring about others and will literally do whatever manipulative thing it takes to get what it is she wants. She definitely lacks self-awareness and the emotional maturity to realize how her actions could have a larger impact on her friend group and her future. A great referral for someone exhibiting these behaviors is the Student Civility Program. An educational workshop series that engages students on topics such as personal responsibility, community safety, emotional intelligence, and healthy relationships. All of which Maddy desperately needs. 
  • As we saw this season, Kat is working on trying to find herself while struggling with her body image and low self-confidence. If you know someone who consistently practices negative self-talk, has a lack of confidence or struggles with negative body image there are a few places on campus that can help. Wellness Coaching works on personal development, boosting confidence, and finding our strengths all in a peer-to-peer coaching session. Kat may not go for the peer-to-peer model as she is not a very trusting person but we promise all of the Student Life Student Wellness Center programs are private. For body image struggles, participating in a Body Project workshop could be another great support for Kat. Finding a community of those who are also trying to find themselves and work towards body positivity could really benefit Kat as she navigates her identity. 
  • Our hero Rue struggles with substance misuse and has jumped in and out of recovery and relapse multiple times in the two seasons of the show. For a friend who is struggling with substance misuse, you have a couple of options: BASICS/CASICS for those exploring their substance use, the OSU Medical Center has a variety of Drug and Alcohol Treatment services for someone seeking help in getting sober, and finally those who are in or seeking recovery and in need of a community of support, the Collegiate Recovery Community could be exactly what they need. For those struggling with opioid use specifically, like Rue, OSU and Project Dawn are working to provide free Narcan Naloxone kits to the OSU and Columbus community. Be prepared and get your free kit by visiting the Project DAWN Narcan Kit Distribution Program Website 
  • Cassie (literally the worst), has a whole mess of struggles she needs to work through –  placing all of her value in her relationships and what her boyfriend thinks of her, backstabbing her best friend for a guy, not taking the time to mentally recover from her abortion, nervous breakdowns every other day because she doesn’t have healthy coping skills, heavy alcohol use, lack of personal awareness, the list could go on and on. If your friend is spiraling like Cassie is every episode, Counseling and Consultation Service is a great first step in getting support. Cassie needs that higher level of care from a certified counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to work through these emotions and experiences, find healthy coping strategies, find some self-worth, and an identity outside of her relationships. 
  • Nate (seriously the other worst character) has childhood trauma that he never worked through which is negatively impacting his life and contributing to his extreme anger towards everything and his manipulative personality that is front and center in all of his unhealthy relationships. The toxic masculinity is strong with this one. First, if you or a friend is in a relationship with someone like Nate (manipulative, controlling, physically or emotionally abusive), it is not your fault and there is help – Ohio Health’s SARNCO has a campus advocate on the Columbus campus to help with safety planning, crisis response, and confidentiality. Second, Nate needs to personally work on himself and the emotions and experiences he is not addressing, a therapist could be really helpful in this space to help him process his trauma.   

One final note, if you are having sex as much as these high schoolers, please make the smart and safe decision to join the Condom Club. 

Hopefully, we don’t have to wait too long for season 3 – I need to know what was in that note Fez wrote to Lexi!! 

-Jordan Helcbergier, Wellness Coordinator |Outreach and Programs