Holiday season at home may exacerbate mental health, alcohol and drug struggles

With health experts advising people to stay home this holiday season, those who struggle with drugs, alcohol and their mental health may have an especially difficult time as the pandemic has amplified many issues.
"We are seeing things like underage drinking on the rise. We're seeing things like reports of thoughts of self-harm and decreases in mental health," says Students Against Destructive Decisions president and CEO Rick Birt. He adds organizations are reaching out to students and their families virtually to still create a safe space.
Student Leadership Council National President Isabelle Boullier is a freshman in college who's currently working from home. She says she became involved in SADD after her sister was hit head-on by a drunk driver in 2015.
"She survived and so did the other people that were involved, but not without injury," Boullier said. "From there, my family and I just took the initiative to make a difference in our community and raise awareness, and educate about the dangers of impaired driving."
Both her and Birt say they'll be staying home and off the roads this holiday season and they encourage others to do the same. Birt says those who aren't traveling as they typically do should get creative keep yourself and others safe while staying in the spirit.