National Mental Health Month: You Are Not Alone

you are not alone
May 4, 2020, 1:43 pm | David Brown

 

AMES, Iowa – May is National Mental Health Month and the National Alliance on Mental Illness is promoting the theme “You Are Not Alone.”  
“I cannot think of a better campaign theme during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Brown, behavioral health specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
“During this era of social distancing, it is important that no one should ever feel alone. Social isolation has a host of negative implications, so we need to set up forms of non-physical interaction for visits and social connections,” Brown said.
Check in on others via social media, texts, video chat or phone calls. “If you’re feeling sad, lonely or fearful, use these connections as an opportunity to reach out to others, to share experiences or just talk,” Brown added.  
For those with mental health vulnerabilities, the ongoing uncertainty of the COVD-19 pandemic and the impact of social isolation may be particularly challenging. NAMI notes that many forms of communication, both formal and informal, can be beneficial. Frequent communication can help to lessen worry, assist in establishing comfort and lower the potential for loneliness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following recommendations to manage the potential stress of social isolation.

  • Take care of your body. Eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of rest and build physical activity into your day.  
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking. Optimism helps us to approach unpleasant circumstances in a more encouraging and helpful way.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help. This is especially important if the stress of isolation is influencing your ability to take care of yourself and your family.  

Other resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Iowa inspires to better the lives for central Iowans affected by mental illness. NAMI works to achieve this goal through support programs, educational outreach, and advocacy on local, state and national levels. Learn more at https://namici.org/about/.
Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.
 

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