May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and in 2020 we need to remember this more than ever. Social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of almost half the U.S. population. Whether due to isolation, job loss stress, or apprehension, the coronavirus pandemic is impacting everyone. These events are associated with increased depression, anxiety, distress, and low self-esteem. They may also lead to higher rates of substance use disorder and suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends five tips to cope with changes to your mental health:
- PAUSE. Breathe. Notice how you feel
- TAKE BREAKS from COVID-19 content
- MAKE TIME to sleep and exercise
- REACH OUT and stay connected
- SEEK HELP if overwhelmed or unsafe
It is also important to remember that despite COVID-19, 1 in 5 American people experience mental health struggles. If you are able to, consider reaching out to someone you know who might be having a difficult time this month.
- Practice active listening. Give your complete attention to the person who is talking and summarize what they said to make sure you understand.
- Don’t compare. Comparing someone’s experience to yours, particularly if you think it was worse, can come across as invalidating.
- Ask what you can do. Don’t assume what someone needs, but if they are reluctant to ask for help, give a few suggestions.
- Keep your word. If you told someone you would do something, keep your word. The person won’t feel abandoned if you are able to deliver your promises.
- Don’t judge. Put your personal opinions and biases aside. Someone may be struggling, but you cannot be totally in someone’s shoes. Criticism is not helpful to their recovery.
- Offer to join them. Offering to go with someone to help them take care of errands can help them feel a sense of accomplishment and lift their spirits.
- Know when more serious help is needed. If someone you care about is in immediate danger of taking suicidal action, seek help by calling 911 or going to the closest emergency room.
- If someone is not in danger, but you think they may be in need of help–just ask them!
- You can give them the person the Kent County crisis line (616) 336-3765
- Or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
- Ask them for their permission to share your own mental health story with them.
- If needed, you can refer them to a local counselor or counseling group.
Health for Life Grand Rapids here to support you through this stressful time. If you would like to talk to someone about your fears and concerns, please contact us. We have telehealth options available so you don’t need to come into the office.
- We are offering additional options to our clients and the community: Optional Secure Telehealth/ Remote Therapy (covered by insurance).
- Please do not hesitate to reach out to your therapist/clinician directly for details. We will customize a plan for your needs. You can also call our reception M-TH, 9-5, (616)-200-4433.
To learn more about counseling visit our counseling page here.
Or reach out for a complimentary 15-minute consultation here.
Or call 616-200-4433. We at Health for Life would be glad to help!
Please take care of yourself and your loved ones at the time.