Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May since 1949 in the US. It’s an opportunity to highlight how mental health can affect one’s overall health and help reduce the stigma that those dealing with mental health issues often feel. With added stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for us to be aware of not only our own mental well-being but also that of our friends and family. Depression, anxiety, eating and post-traumatic stress disorders can develop, or be exacerbated, during times of crisis or a prolonged period of stress.
If you’ve never dealt with a mental health problem, it can be difficult or scary to admit that you need help. The social stigma associated with mental health issues, as well as one’s own internal feelings of shame or embarrassment can keep you from seeking care. It is crucial to understand that these negative ideas and feelings about mental health are not valid. Mental illness is more common than you may think. Nearly one in five adults in the US live with a mental illness – that’s 51.5 million people – and the numbers are rising due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mental balance is important to your physical wellbeing; body and mind are intertwined. Physical issues can lead to mental issues and poor mental health can lead to increased physical health risks. Don’t be discouraged or afraid to seek help. Virtual resources are growing; you can connect with your physician via telehealth and online therapy programs are flourishing. While you can’t control what happens outside in the world, you CAN control how you respond.
“I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.” – Voltaire
Suicide Hotline -If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available via phone call or chat. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
WA State Resources – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/mental-and-emotional-well-being