May is Mental Health Month

Posted Friday May 28, 2021

By Renee Mahaffey Harris, President & CEO, The Center for Closing the Health Gap

May is mental health month and it is clear that the past year has brought us all many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all had to build resiliency during this time and the challenges we have faced have made us stronger but it is also important to address the state of our mental health during this time. We must put our health first in order to thrive and continue building for the future, and that can start with our mental health. The pandemic has forced many of us to face and accept tough situations that we have little to no control over and that is traumatic. Job loss, housing issues, health emergencies, social isolation, racial trauma and lives lost to COVID-19, have all impacted our mental health whether we realize it or not. Many are recognizing the impact of stress for the first time and it is time more than ever to end the stigma surrounding mental health in our community.

It’s important to remember these 3 things:

  • We are not alone: While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.
  • There are tools, resources, and professionals to address mental health concerns
  • Change is coming, there is hope for the future

Change starts with taking care of ourselves, talking about our struggles, and reaching out for help when we need it. It won’t happen over night but if we take small steps to improve our mental health we can overcome these challenges. Our health is all we have in this life and mental health is a part of it.

Here are a few steps that you can take to start taking care of yourself, and protect your peace:

  • Practice Radical Acceptance – accept the situation that you have no control over, accept where you are and give yourself some grace. Begin placing more focus on the things you can control.
  • Take care of your body – Physical fitness, nutrition, are an play a key role in improving your mental health, if you aren’t feeling well physically this can greatly affect your mental health.
  • Process your thoughts and feelings – talking with trusted family members and friends can help, keeping a journal, recording a voice memo can help you work through your feelings.
  • Connect with others and get support – talking with others about your struggles can help you combat feelings of loneliness
  • Take time for yourself – take up a hobby that makes you happy, practice mindfulness, and create space for yourself by carving out time just for you.
  • Reach out for help if you need it – There is no shame in seeking help, get help as soon as you can to start feeling better.


Mental Health Resources:

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