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May is Mental Health Month

May 7, 2020

May is Mental Health Month

Shawnee Health Service recognizes May as Mental Health Month.  This May for Mental Health Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is raising awareness and highlighting that no one experiencing a mental health condition should feel alone. More than 40 million people in the U.S. face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental health condition. And now more than ever, in these uncertain times, it is important for the mental health movement to come together.

 

Shawnee Health Service’s Behavioral Health Counseling team has not slowed down since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Starting in mid-March, the team made more than 400 calls a week to patients to offer support.  Since then, the team has rapidly responded to the need for telehealth, transitioning all face-to-face counseling appointments to phone or video.

 

Using evidence-based methods, Behavioral Health Counselors assist patients in identifying goals and taking manageable steps to improve their overall health.  During this pandemic, people’s mental and physical problems have not gone away.  For some patients, needs have intensified.  Here are some tips that we discuss with patients, which may be useful for all of us during this time:

 

Identify your “triggers.”  Do you know what causes you to feel more anxious or depressed? Is it certain times of day or after a type of interaction? Try to pay attention to your mood throughout the day and take note.

 

Many patients have identified the news and social media as a source of stress.  There is some evidence to support that more time spent on social media actually . makes people feel more depressed! If you want to stay informed, limit the number of times you check in or the length of time you are watching/listening to new information.

 

Identify ways of coping that work for you.  What makes you feel better or at least feel more neutral? Try going for a walk, talking with a friend, getting exercise, or reading/ watching something funny. The field of positive psychology and addiction treatment support gratitude lists as a way to lift mood. Despite what may be going wrong, what things in your day/life are you grateful for?

 

Give yourself permission to have some rough days.  “Radical acceptance” is part of an evidence-based treatment model that involves accepting life on life’s terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change.

 

Shawnee Health Service wants to remind all of our patients that we are here for you.  We are available by telephone or through video conferencing.  You are not alone.

 

Since its inception in 1971, Shawnee Health Service has worked to improve the health and welfare of southern Illinois residents through the promotion, development and administration of quality, comprehensive health and social services. Shawnee Health Service believes that quality health care is a right, and continuously strives to ensure that patients receive the highest quality health care without regard to age, race, religion, sex, financial status, or where they live.

 

Shawnee Health Service is continuing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of our commitment to our patients and clients who count on us for their safety and wellbeing.

 

 

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