May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Sara Wellington

by Sara Wellington, MA, ATR, LPC JFS Art Therapist & Mental Health Counselor

As trees turn green and flowers emerge from the ground, May is appropriately known as Mental Health Awareness month—a time for awakenings and new beginnings. Under the COVID-19 pandemic however, this May is unlike any other.

We are being faced with unbelievable challenges threatening our physical health, economic stability, daily routines, connections with each other, and our emotional well-being. During this time of uncertainty, most of us find ourselves trying to navigate a “new normal” while managing incredible and unique stressors.

A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found at the end of March almost half of the adults in the US reported worry and stress related to the pandemic had a negative effect on their mental health. Not only is the pandemic creating new concerns, like additional stress and worry, it’s also worsening existing mental health issues. Taking care of your mental health should be just as important as protecting your physical health yet many are embarrassed, afraid, or too overwhelmed to seek out help. Every day new services are being created, and established agencies are reaching out to help reduce the stigma and encourage everyone to pay attention to their well-being.

In addition to our programs at JFS, Minnesota Department of Health recently created a Mental Health Resource page specific to COVID-19, filled with many resources to support us all during this difficult time.