Mental Health Awareness Month During COVID-19 Pandemic
Around 450 million people all over the world suffer from a mental illness according to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). The ADAA also states, “…yet nearly two thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment.”
May is Mental Health Awareness month, dedicated to reducing the stigma that surrounds having a mental illness. An article from The Washington Post called "The Coronavirus Pandemic is Pushing America into a Mental Health Crisis" addresses the increased number of mental health cases, and how “nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus is harming their mental health according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.”
The article also mentions the “federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared to the same time last year.”
Mental Health Awareness Month is always important, but this year it holds a new meaning. The world is experiencing unprecedented times, leaving people feeling hopeless and anxious. This month should be prioritized with a determination to decrease the skyrocketing numbers.
Here are some symptoms and signs someone is having trouble with mental health:
Feeling upset/sad often
Withdrawal from family and friends
Withdrawal from activities that are usually enjoyed
Alcohol or drug abuse
Changes in eating habits
Frequent mood changes
Here are some ways you can be there for a friend and/or family member who is having trouble with mental health:
Ask how they are doing
Check on them often
Offer support: How can I best support you right now?
Research mental health: Grasp a better understanding of what your friend and/or family member is going through
Research mental illness signs, and then watch for them
Be a friend – include them in plans
Here are some ways you can assist yourself if you are having trouble with mental health:
Talk to a professional
Talk to a friend and/or family member
Make sure you are getting a good amount of sleep
Practice healthy eating
Reduce caffeine intake
Spend time outside
Set realistic goals – such as “make my bed” – no victory is too small.
For the rest of the month, make it a goal to check-in with yourself and others. Mental health is and forever will be a priority.