Building Connections and Planting Seeds of Hope For Students

September 19, 2023

The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way. 

The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way. 

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The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way. 

The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way. 

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The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way. 

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The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way. 

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The student mental health crisis continues to make headlines across the country. News stories have documented how large numbers of teens are ‘anxious and depressed’. Several stories have connected these surges of depression and anxiety with a greater need for school mental health supports. A New York Times article from last year summed up the gravity and stakes by saying, ‘It’s Life or Death:’ The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The statistics underpinning the headlines are similarly startling: Recent studies have found that more than 42% of students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Another study showed a sharp rise in the number of high school seniors reporting that they often feel lonely. Research has confirmed a strong link between this kind of isolation or loneliness and the “increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.” The rise in depression and anxiety has also contributed to alarming numbers of teens and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation. According to the CDC, 22% of students said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, with 10% sharing that they had made an attempt. 

In short, our adolescents and teens are struggling. 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. With the backdrop around the current state of student mental health, it is critical that schools and districts make intentional and thoughtful efforts to support the emotional health and wellbeing of students. Counselors and educators can use this month to build awareness, create open dialogues, and find ways to holistically support students. 

CCR: A Powerful Driver of Hope and Connection

College and career readiness (CCR) efforts, in so many ways, are about instilling hope for the future. The meaningful work of these programs and initiatives can serve as a powerful mechanism to help students set goals, build relationships and connections, identify their strengths, and feel valued for their contributions. When students articulate a dream for the future and are able to make a tangible plan to achieve it, they are often more excited about what is ahead. They have a sense of purpose. When students are able to go through the exercises of identifying strengths, skills, and interests, they are better able to align who they are with what they want to do. When students are given the space to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and opinions and make choices to inform their future, they have a sense of agency and feel empowered. When students are connected to peers or mentors who have shared goals and passions, they feel a greater sense of belonging and support. 

As counselors and educators plan CCR efforts and initiatives, take special care to look out for students who do not seem to feel hopeful about their futures. Work with them to identify interests and set goals. Sometimes students are genuinely not aware of the diversity of options available. Simply helping to make them aware that there are financial supports available or straight-to-career options that might be a good fit can do a tremendous amount to embed hope. Counselors and school leaders might start collecting data on student involvement. This can be a good metric for identifying students who feel isolated. Find ways to check in on students who have no extracurricular activities or seem otherside disengaged and help them overcome barriers to participation or identify clubs or activities that are a good fit. This outreach to help connect students to a broader network can mitigate feelings of loneliness or disconnection. 

And counselors can also help to provide a healthy perspective for students who are overly fixated on a specific goal. Many very driven and academically successful students set their sights on a singular postsecondary destination–whether that be a particular college or career. This risks crushing feelings of defeat if they do not get into the college or program. Counselors can help students expand their thinking about different options that might be a good fit; reinforcing the message that there are multiple paths to success can diffuse the pressure and stress many students place on themselves. 

Use this Month to Inspire Lasting Impact

Student mental health is complicated and multifaceted. Counselors, in many of the roles they already do each day, can be key members of a school community to help embed student empowerment, connectedness, and feelings of hope. Counselors can help students who feel stuck find a path forward. They can be advocates for students to overcome challenges. They can help students identify mentors and other avenues for exploration and growth. And they can offer a safe and welcoming place for students to get the help they need. Use this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month to reflect on messaging to students and ensure that there are processes in place that encourage a culture where individuals are seen and valued and where students look to the future with possibility and know they have support along the way.