This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and communities.
Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns.
- The average share of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder has jumped from 11% in January 2019 to 41% in January 2021
- The number of people reporting anxiety symptoms has tripled and depression symptoms have quadrupled during the pandemic with black Americans shouldering the heaviest burden.
- More than 50% of Americans now meet the clinical definition of anxiety disorder or depression
That’s why this Mental Health Month, The Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is highlighting #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.
“The core mission of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is to raise awareness about mental health and let people know that it’s okay to talk about their emotional wellbeing, especially if they find themselves struggling,” said Karl Shallowhorn, chair. “Our goal is to combat the harmful effects of stigma that contribute to discrimination, misperceptions and the unfounded fears associated with mental illness.”
Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are focusing on different topics that can help process the events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend beyond COVID-19.
The past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took the anxiety screening online, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.
It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.
A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at mhawny.org/screening. It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing.
Ultimately, during this month of May, the Anti-Stigma Coalition wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
For more information, visit mhanational.org/tools-2-thrive
Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.
- While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages, and now more than ever it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles that commonly prevents individuals from seeking help.
- There are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency, regardless of the situations they are dealing with.
- Knowing when to turn to friends, family, and co-workers when you are struggling with life’s challenges can help improve your mental health.
- One way to check in with yourself is to take a mental health screen. It’s a quick, free, and private way for someone to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems.
- Living a healthy lifestyle and incorporating mental health tools to thrive may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.
- Seeking professional help when self-help efforts to improve your mental health aren’t working is a sign of strength, not weakness.
The average share of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder has jumped from January 2019 to January 2021: