COVID-19 has taken an enormous toll on the mental health of individuals across the nation. People have lost their loved ones, struggled with layoffs and unemployment, fought with loneliness, and battled the emotional and physical effects of the virus itself.
CDC researchers have found rising rates of anxiety and depression since COVID-19’s first peak. A June survey found that 40% of individuals had a mental health concern related to the pandemic indicating symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations. Reports showed that rates of anxiety and depression were three and four times higher in June than in the 2019 second quarter (Advisory Board).
It’s not hard to see that mental illness is real and needs to be talked about. This October we have an opportunity to do just that. From October 4th to October 10th, we will observe Mental Illness Awareness week. This time is a chance to provide resources and hope for individuals and families plagued by mental illness.
Why is Mental Illness Awareness Week important? (NEDA)
- As we openly talk about mental illness, we help remove negative stigmas attached to these disorders and stereotypes associated with struggling individuals.
- Educating ourselves about these topics creates better understanding and empathy for those around us.
- Having an open discussion can give people an opportunity to feel heard and to foster connections with those dealing with similar issues.
- Individuals with mental illness can find access to and opportunities for treatment that they otherwise may not have known about.
What are some ways that you can get involved?
- Share your experiences with others. Our own battle with mental illness may just be an important part of someone else’s path to recovery.
- Check in with your loved ones. It’s important to create a safe home environment where you, your partner, and your children can feel free to talk about your mental health.
- Educate yourself on mental illnesses. Learn about the struggles of those with different mental health disorders and what you can do to eliminate stigma and spread awareness.
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