Even if Mental Health Awareness Month (May) is coming to an end next week, it is absolutely crucial to maintain good mental health as we continue to move forward in our new lives shaped by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone.” (NAMI).
The CDC explains that “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.” And while the term mental health has been in common use, its importance, nowadays seems to be highlighted by the coronavirus.
Unfortunately, there are no guidelines for how to live in a pandemic-driven world. Almost everything we are experiencing is unscripted and uncertain, leading to more anxiety, fear, and depression.
Amid this pandemic, more than a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression (NCHS & Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey).
Annie Schmidt, executive director of the National Association for Mental Illness in Wake County, explains that people who have never experienced depression and anxiety before, are now expressing concern. People are feeling depressed as a result of being isolated, anxious about the future, stressed over finances, and grieving the loss of normalcy.
One of the most helpful resources out there, is Healthline’s How to Deal with Health Anxiety During the COVID-19 Outbreak. From guidance on how to stop worrying about COVID-19, to dealing with self-isolation if you have depression, this resource is packed full of little, albeit very helpful gems.
If you, your family, or other loved ones are struggling to cope with stress, try the following tips from CDC:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
And as the world begins to slowly reopen with a glimmer of normalcy, look for the little opportunities to pick yourself back up, boost your mental focus, and have some fun. Whatever you do, it doesn’t need to be much, but every small action will make a big difference in how you feel.
So, as we move forward in these times, take the time to assess and address your own mental health and make any changes you consider necessary to help you move forward and find brighter days ahead. Remember, we’re all in this together.
Check out these additional resources as well:
From information on how to sleep and eat better, to counseling support, to maintaining positivity and finding entertainment in museums, Nursing License Map's 2020 Mental Health Resource List will prove useful in many ways.
Mental Health America offers the 2020 Mental Health Month Toolkit – a free resource filled with practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency regardless of the situations they are dealing with. In this Toolkit, you’ll find printable handouts, worksheets, social media and web components, media materials, and additional useful resources.
MentalHealth.gov provides information on what signs to look for, how to talk about mental health, and ways to get help. Whether you’re seeking guidance for yourself, a friend, your child, or other loved ones, MentalHealth.gov has some great resources for everyone and every type of mental health condition.
Written by: Jessica Noyes, Communications Coordinator, WMA