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New research from OptionB.Org and SurveyMonkey shows that in a year that’s been hard for everyone, we’ve grown stronger by supporting each other.
Eight in ten people experienced a major challenge this year, such as a mental health struggle, job loss, serious illness or injury, or death of a family member or close friend. People of color and young people were especially likely to face hardship: Black survey respondents were most likely to experience the death of a family member, Latinx respondents were most likely to experience job loss or financial insecurity, and people aged 18-35 were most likely to struggle with mental health issues.
Nine in ten people say they’ve taken steps to support someone dealing with hardship this year, such as calling to check in, handling errands or chores, or sending a care package. Over half say they’ve offered more support than in the past. Many people have received more support, too—and almost a third say they received support from a source they didn’t expect.
Sixty-eight percent of people say they feel better prepared to handle new challenges as a result of the difficulties they’ve faced in 2020. Many feel better equipped to talk about hardship, too—nearly a third of people are more comfortable opening up to others about their personal struggles, and of those, a majority say their increased comfort stems from the sense of solidarity created by COVID-19.
Almost half of people expect this holiday season to be harder than usual—and many say that simple, heartfelt gestures of support will go a long way. For example, 56 percent of people say the most meaningful thing someone could do for them at the holidays is just to reach out, whether that’s by calling or texting regularly, or checking in with an occasional “thinking of you.” And almost a quarter say it’s simply acknowledging their struggles or validating their feelings.