Last year’s World Mental Health Report found that one in eight people live with a mental health condition. For many, the COVID-19 pandemic and other current events have exacerbated those conditions. Rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 25% since last year, and US teen population—especially teenage girls—are the most impacted demographic.
People struggling with mental issues are far from alone. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it is an opportunity to recognize the battle that millions of Americans face, help dispel public stigma and bring attention to the need for more community mental health resources.
“Increasing mental health awareness can help decrease stigma around mental health and lead to more multi-sectoral community resources,” says Brenna Vernocke, licensed medical social worker (LMSW) and outpatient behavioral health therapist at Holland Hospital.
What are the symptoms of mental health issues?
“Everyone needs to know the signs and symptoms of mental health issues to take care of each other,” says Vernocke.
Someone struggling with mental health might become withdrawn, experience changes in sleeping and/ or eating patterns, or engage in risky behaviors. You may also notice that they’re struggling to function day-to-day or take care of themselves or family members.
“It looks different for everyone,” said Kayla Rotman, LMSW, an outpatient behavioral health therapist at Holland Hospital. “If someone is struggling, their behavior will usually be drastically different from their normal behavior.”
What can I do if I’m struggling with mental health?
If you are struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone. There are several practical steps you can start taking today that can help.
- Utilize your support system. Reach out to friends and family and let them know you’re struggling.
- Get outside. Taking a walk or simply enjoying nature is proven to help reduce stress and improve mental health.
- Mindfulness. Start by downloading a meditation app on your phone. Watch a video on mindfulness here.
- Practice deep breathing. Watch a video on deep breathing here.
- Practice grounding. Focusing on the physical environment around you can help bring you into the present moment. Watch Vernocke explain grounding here.
“No issue is too big or too small to get help,” said Rotman. “Everyone’s situation is unique to them.”
If you are struggling with your mental health, the following resources are available to help:
- Ottawa County Community Health: (866) 512-4357
- Allegan County Community Health: (800) 795-6617
- Muskegon County Community Health: (231) 722-4357
- Access the National Suicide Hotline by dialing 988.
Where can I learn more?
Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services offers a broad range of inpatient and outpatient mental health services that treat the whole person—mind, body and spirit. If you feel that you may need formal treatment for mental health problems, contact your primary care provider. They can help come up with an individualized plan for you that may include a referral for the services provided at Holland Hospital.