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How to Observe Mental Illness Awareness Week During the Pandemic

Mental Health America has announced Oct. 4-10 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this seven-day period and beyond, the organization is encouraging people to familiarize themselves with the signs of major mental health conditions and how they affect everyone’s lives. 

Mental illness awareness is especially crucial amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it’s still too early to be certain about the cumulative effects, many public health experts have predicted that COVID-19 will likely cause or worsen a range of long-term mental health issues. What are some ways you can preserve your mental health while observing Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020?

1. Reach Out to Loved Ones

Following social distancing rules to prevent the spread of illness is the right thing to do, but it probably also means you have friends or family members you haven’t been able to see in person for months. However, spending time with loved ones is crucial for your mental well-being. Invite them to meet you online using an app like Skype or FaceTime. Instead of using the time to catch up, add some flair by eating a meal together, playing trivia or hosting a virtual dance party, karaoke night or workout.

2. Improve Your Understanding of Mental Health Issues

Mental well-being is an essential component of your overall health. Despite this, many people aren’t familiar with the symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD and substance abuse. Even more troublingly, those living with mental illnesses may fail to get help because they fear what others will think of them or mistakenly believe there are no effective treatments available. 

Mental Health America offers various free, accessible resources to help educate the public about various mental health conditions, including quick online screening tests you can take to help you determine whether you might be living with a disorder like anxiety, depression, addiction or psychosis. Though the results of a screening aren’t a substitute from receiving an official diagnosis from a psychologist, they can provide you with a helpful jumping-off point to start researching holistic treatment options.

3. Take a Mental Health Day

Many people have no qualms about calling in sick when they’re feeling the symptoms of physical illness, but you might feel guilty about taking a day to focus on relaxing and recharging yourself mentally. The United States is the world’s most overworked developed nation, and most of us don’t take an adequate amount of time to account for a healthy work-life balance. As a result, job burnout has become a leading source of stress for many Americans. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, normalize taking a day or two off to tend to your self-care and mental well-being. 

Recognizing When You Need Help

One of the essential takeaways of Mental Illness Awareness Week is that many resources exist when you’re ready to start your journey toward wellness. Vista Taos Renewal Center is a family-owned, accredited addiction treatment center offering a blend of evidence-based therapies. To learn more about our peaceful mountain setting, contact us today.

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