Take action this month to prioritize mental health wellness
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. That’s why this Mental Health Month, Community Care Services and other mental health providers across the country will be highlighting and discussing what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.
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.
We know that 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 November 2020, the CDC reported that 44% of us were dealing with either depression or anxiety. While historically data shows us that one in five adults will experience a mental health problem, these days it certainly feels like it’s five in five.
Nearly three million people have taken a mental health screening through Mental Health America during the past 12 months. Of those, one million were experiencing depression and hundreds of thousands more were experiencing either anxiety or psychosis. Young people are bearing the brunt of the pandemic, but these mental health impacts cross all generations.
Fortunately, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health such as 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 MHAscreening.org. 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, Community Care Services wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. By developing your own tools to prosper, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Free virtual mental health seminar
Join us on May 19 at 7 p.m. for a free virtual conversation, “Take Action: My Mental Health,” hosted by Community Care Services and National Alliance on Mental Illness Michigan. The event is for anyone personally struggling with mental health issues, have questions about treatment programs and resources and eliminating barriers to care. The goal of the event is to provide hope and answers to make it easier to take those important first steps towards mental wellness. The virtual presentation is FREE, but registration is required to receive Zoom link and event reminder. Visit the News and Event page at www.comcareserv.org for details and registration.
Susan Kozak has been a licensed social worker for the past 35 years and currently serves as the executive director of Community Care Services, a position she has held since 2011.