May is Mental Health Month

Everyone responds differently to stressful situations. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be especially stressful for people. Feelings of fear and anxiety about the disease can be overwhelming and may cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Since 1949, the month of May has been observed as Mental Health Month in the United States to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to stop the stigma and misunderstanding that still exists. This year, as we look forward to and prepare to help our communities recover from the COVID-19 outbreak, let’s not forget to make mental health a priority and continue to work towards reducing the stigma and removing the barriers to better mental health care.
Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Ways to cope with stress

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media
  • Take care of your body!

    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
    • Be physically active
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Connect with others

Call your healthcare provider if stress is getting in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Iowa Concern is a 24/7 hotline with trained staff available to provide resources to Iowans in need. Services are free and confidential. Language interpretation is available. Stress counselors can talk with you over the phone at 1-800-447-1985, in one-on-one live chat, or you can e-mail an expert. Referrals for mental health counseling can also be accessed through Iowa Concern. For more information go to
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Stress and Coping:
Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak:
Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks:
Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks:
Tips for Survivors: Coping With Grief After A Disaster or Traumatic Event:

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