Through difficult times

People with mental health issues need resources now more than ever


Taking care of mental health is an important topic, but it can be difficult to open up about, especially with friends and family who might not think it’s a big deal. I also struggle with talking about how I feel and coming to terms with it. Being with my friends is a good escape for me because it really helps me clear my head of negative thoughts. However, right now, that is not possible. Self isolation is the last thing I would choose to do, but I don’t have a choice because I know it is what’s saving lives.

Now more than ever, it is important for people to have access to resources and people they can call if they need someone to talk to. I will be listing mental health resources because it is so important for people to maintain their mental health and know where to get help.

With social distancing guidelines, we are advised to stay at least 6 feet apart from one another, which means no hugging or feeling close to those you love, which can lead to negative emotions. In an article from Insider magazine, Zlatin Ivanov, a New York psychiatrist says, “All our systems, including social, psychological and biological, have developed around social groups and interaction with one another. Social isolation in most cases would bring the negative effects of loneliness, anxiety and sometimes depression.” 

Social distancing is even harder for people who struggle with things like depression and anxiety like myself because without that connection to other people, we can feel lost in our own mind.

Humans are meant to have connections with other humans. COVID-19 has created a whole new way of life in regards to human interaction. This is why it’s essential now more than ever to take care of our mental health.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, a $2 trillion congressional stimulus package that was approved last month included $425 million for mental health and substance-use disorders as a result of the pandemic. It also provided $50 million for suicide-prevention programs. I think it’s great that these issues are getting recognized and that people are having conversations about the protection of those with mental health issues. It matters immensely that there is money being funded towards mental health and that people are aware. Hopefully with greater resources available, people will remain hopeful. 

This time is extremely stressful for everyone right now, and there is really no right or wrong way to handle the stress and overwhelming feelings. The CDC provides ways to cope with this stress on their website. Some of the ways they suggest include taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, taking care of your body by eating healthy and exercising, making time to unwind by doing activities you enjoy and connecting with others through video/phone calls or messaging. Personally, I have found that activities such as working out, reading books and watching my favorite shows on Netflix are ways that have helped me during this time. I definitely recommend all of these as ways to keep your mind happy and your body healthy.  

Even though the world is in a really sad and scary place right now, I think it’s important for those who struggle with issues like anxiety and depression to make sure they are focusing on taking care of themselves. Being lonely and isolated at home can make it really easy for these dark thoughts to consume the mind, so it’s important to spend time doing things that bring joy in order to keep those thoughts away as much as possible.Especially now, people everywhere need to be informed of resources to help them and who to contact to get the help that they need.

Telehealth is key to people getting the help they need during these difficult times. Telehealth, according to Oxford dictionary, is “the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology.” So, people who need help can receive it from the comfort of their own home, which may make them feel more comfortable opening up about what they’re going through. I think it’s very important for people to have a safe space where they can release their thoughts.

Many of the services from Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center are provided at no charge, and they are reachable at 855-283-3734. Also, guidance counselors are still available through their emails and Google Meet. They are there to help us and talk to us. One last resource that I am adding because I think it is extremely important is the National Suicice Prevention Lifeline. The line is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, so never hesitate to call the number: 1-800-273-8255. 

Despite the fact that these uncertain times can start to feel hopeless, there is hope. No one is alone. Always remember to take care of your mind, body and soul.