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Mental Health

What Are Your Tools to Thrive?

While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

With the development of COVID-19 and the anxiety, fear, and isolation that has come with it, it’s even more important than ever to keep our mental health in check. MHA has seen a spike in its online anxiety and depression screens – roughly 18,000 more people sought help for anxiety or depression since the pandemic began; nearly 14,000 considered suicide or self-harm in March and April alone. Over 10,000 people experienced moderate to severe depression and at least 7,629 people screened moderate to severe for anxiety from late February through the end of April because of COVID-19. And the numbers continue to rise.

Mental health and COVID

The mental health impact of this pandemic is very real. And for many who have already been diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s been a very difficult time.

The good news is there are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency – and there are ways that everyone can be supportive of friends, family, and co-workers who are struggling with life’s challenges or their mental health.

Recognizing your feelings, finding the routines that lift you up, removing toxic influences, and connecting with others – right now virtually – can go a long way in helping you develop your own mental health tools to thrive.

Taking steps to improve

When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s OK to give yourself permission to feel.

It also is true that connections and the people around us can help our overall mental health – or hurt it. It’s important to make connections with other people – even virtual ones – that can help enrich our lives and get us through tough times. That said, it’s equally important to recognize when certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel bad or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time.

We also know that work, paying bills, cleaning, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things we do each day – and it is easy to be overwhelmed. By creating routines, we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them.

For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. But MHA wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Finding what work for you may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health – and set yourself on the path to recovery.

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