A group of Clark County teens hope a lighthearted game of bingo will help their peers cope with pandemic stress.
Striking a square off the Better You Bingo card is as easy as taking a walk outside or listening to music. STASHA (Strong Teens Against Substance Hazards and Abuse), a group of 30 peer educators under the auspices of Clark County’s community services department, organized the contest. It continues through May 20.
“We looked at what healthy coping skills we use, especially with everything going on during the pandemic, and took those ideas and applied them to a bingo card intentionally designed to encourage connection between peers, adults and organizations,” said Jaelyn Sotelo, 18, a STASHA peer educator for the past four years. Sotelo, a Skyview High School senior, attends Clark College full time as a Running Start student.
Quarantine bingo cards are a recurring meme online, but most have a snarky edge, with squares like “wore underwear for two days” or “gave myself a haircut.” Alaina Green, the county’s STASHA program coordinator, said the teens decided to flip that in a more positive direction.
“We know that youth in our community are experiencing depression and anxiety,” Sotelo said.
She pointed to Washington’s 2018 Healthy Youth Survey, which found that 26 percent of Clark County’s 10th graders felt depressed and 51 percent were anxious. And that was before COVID-19.
The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on teens’ mental health. A national survey released in March found that about half of parents (46 percent) say they have noticed a new or worsening mental health condition for their teen since the start of the pandemic.
“We asked, how can we make something that will help young people during a time that has been so exhausting?” Sotelo said.
Clark County residents ages 12 to 19 are eligible to enter the contest. Download a game card from clarkcountystasha.org and read over the rules. To play, take photos of yourself completing the listed activities and post them on Instagram or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prizes include a hula hoop, a wireless karaoke microphone, a disc golf set and gift cards.