It’s National Mental Health Awareness Month in the US and the UK also has its Mental Health Awareness Week from May 10-16. As pandemic restrictions are starting to ease in the US and with the UK not far behind, along with sunnier days and warmer temps, it might seem tempting to think we can just flip a switch and get back to “normal” without skipping a beat.
The reality is that many people are going to have lingering mental health issues, from moderate to more severe. Some of these issues may be a result of long-haul COVID-19 symptoms but many people will also suffer from the tough year we’ve all been through due to the uncertainty of our health, economic and political situations.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. The websites linked in this post offer tools and suggestions on self care and where to go to get help if you need it. Some top self care tips from Mental Health First Aid include finding opportunities to laugh, getting enough sleep and finding ways of connecting with others. Exercise also benefits your physical and mental wellbeing and provides a great reason to be in nature, which is the theme of the UK campaign.
We’re all getting through this (hopefully) once-in-a-generation event by looking out for those around us and being aware of our surroundings. That seems like a good path forward as we ease out of lockdown. You never know what someone else is going through so cut yourself and others some slack, show a bit of extra patience and kindness and check in with those around you. We all want to get back to sunnier, happier times and it will be much better if we all help each other try to get there together.