The Coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered our lives. The uncertainty of these challenging times can cause stress, fear, anger, isolation, and ultimately impact our overall health and well-being. For people who already suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental disorders, these emotions can become even more pronounced during a crisis of this magnitude.
Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, health organizations and affiliates throughout the country–notably Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness—are increasing their efforts to bring awareness and educate the public through the media with campaigns and local events regarding mental illness and some of the stigmas and misconceptions that are often associated with it.
Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five Americans are affected by mental health issues. Some of these conditions include bipolar disorder, panic attacks, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. However, most of those at risk often fail to seek proper care and attention for a variety of reasons that range from lack of health insurance, fear, or embarrassment of their situation.
During a recent broadcast on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” (April 23, 2020), host Chris Cuomo spoke with Dr. Ken Duckworth, the Chief Medical Officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Both Cuomo and Dr. Duckworth encouraged people who are feeling out of sorts at any time, but especially now due to the Coronavirus pandemic, to not hide from their feelings or be ashamed of what their feeling. Cuomo added that mental health support groups he spoke with say they “are experiencing a huge increase in calls and requests for help.”
It’s important to remember that you are not alone. Mental illness can afflict anyone and there are resources available to help you.
For more information on May is Mental Health Month, go to http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may. You can also get information at www.mhanational.org/MentalHealthInfo about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and its impact on minorities, youth and older adults at https://www.mhanational.org/MentalHealthInfo.