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New Hampshire Colleges Prepare For An Anxious Election Week

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Colleges around New Hampshire are taking steps to support students through Tuesday’s election and the following days.

This year has brought on a lot: a pandemic, an economic downturn, wildfires in the West, a focus on racial injustice.

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Brian Quigley, executive director of Keene State College’s wellness center, said, with an election in the mix, it’s not surprising many young people feel anxious. 

To help students with that, the college will offer an “Election Reflection” discussion next Wednesday.

“It’s a response to the acknowledgement that the culmination of all these things has been eliciting significant worry and anxiety for people,” Quigley said.

At that socially distanced event, students will have access to mental health experts to facilitate conversation and provide support to help manage stress or anxiety. Students will also have access to craft and game stations.

Four years ago, Quigley said he and his team didn’t have these discussions planned, and instead had to set up events and spaces for students more reactively.

Dartmouth College’s counseling center is offering several openings for drop-in group discussions throughout next week, and the University of New Hampshire says it will have more a few appointments available for students.

Shari Robinson, UNH’s interim dean of students, said students are preparing programming for the days following the election.  

“They are interested in putting on two or three programs post-election as we’re waiting on the results on the election, as anxiety is heightened,” she said.

Robinson said that UNH students do have access to a 24/7 crisis hotline if that’s needed.

Daniela is NHPR's reporter in the Upper Valley and Monadnock regions. She also leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.

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