May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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This was established in 1949 to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in the US.  Key points regarding mental health awareness continue to be:

  • Prevention does work;
  • Treatment is effective; and
  • People can recover from mental disorders and live full/productive lives.

In the last year we have seen an increased focus on mental health and the wellbeing of our friends, family and coworkers.  The isolation, bereavement, fear and loss of income are just a few of the factors that have been triggering new mental health conditions and intensifying existing ones.  In addition, increased alcohol, drug use, insomnia, and anxiety have increased and been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness [NAMI] reports these common warning signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following[1]:

  • Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way daily activities
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so
  • Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to lose weight
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Severe out of control risk taking behavior that can cause harm to self or others
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still

If you believe you have any symptoms or signs of a mental health illness there are plenty of resources to help!

  • Contact the NAMI Help Linefor services and support
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline‘s 24 hour toll-free crisis hotline, 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255)
  • In areas where 211 is available, dialing this number can connect you with mental health crisis services in your area or help you find where to seek immediate help in your area.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1; or text 838255
  • Crisis Text Line: text the word ‘Home’ to 741-741
  • Call your primary care physician for recommendations
  • Check with your employer to see if they have an EAP program
  • Your church or place of worship may have support available

[1] https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms

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