Last updated: If you’re not okay, it’s okay: Resources for mental and emotional health

If you’re not okay, it’s okay: Resources for mental and emotional health

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According to Mental Health America, nearly 20% of adults in the US are experiencing a mental illness; nearly 5% are experiencing severe mental illness.

The number of adults with serious suicidal thoughts in the US is more than 11 million, up 664,000 from last year, the organization said.

Around the world, anxiety and depression jumped 25% during the pandemic, according to a report released by the World Health Organization in March. Social isolation fueled the increased mental health issues, which hit young people and women the most.

Mental health awareness: More than just a month

As Mental Health Awareness month closes, many are still in the same situation mentally and emotionally as they were at the beginning of May. With political, economic, environmental, and social stressors at peak levels, anxiety, depression, and burnout are rampant around the globe.

Let’s be blunt: There’s a lot of frightening and overwhelming things going on, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Always-on news cycles make it almost impossible to take the time needed to process the grief, trauma, and emotions that come with each event or loss.

Life is hard, period.

Coupled with living through a pandemic, lots of people report mental illness and the symptoms of it, which include feeling numb, alone, disengaged, and unhappy.

Signs of mental illness – including anxiety, which affects over 275 million adults – are wide-ranging, and can include:

  • Confusion
  • Excessive fears or worry
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling sad
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Excessive hostility or anger
  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension

While there’s always seems to be bad news readily available at our fingertips, there’s also support and help available 24/7.

Image from The Crisis Text Line, offering mental health help available via text.
The Crisis Text Line offers 24/7 assistance to trained crisis counselors via text or What’sApp.

It can also be difficult to know what to say or do to help someone experiencing emotional pain, so people tend to avoid discussing it – not because they don’t care, but because they don’t know how to help or what to say. There’s also great resources and information available to assist with this topic.

The National Institute of Mental Health lists five steps to help someone in emotional pain:

  1. Ask if they’re suicidal
  2. Keep them safe by reducing their access to lethal items
  3. Be there by listening and acknowledging/talking about suicide
  4. Help them connect to resources and support
  5. Stay connected

It’s okay if you don’t feel okay, and you’re not alone

If you’re struggling to cope with how you’re feeling, the most important thing to know is that you’re not alone – help is closer than you may think in the worst of moments.

The non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms lists the following 24/7 hotlines and websites on their site:

Crisis Text Line: Text TWLOHA to 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (For hearing and speech impaired with TTY equipment: 800-799-4889. Español: 888-628-9454)

National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-422-4453

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): 800-656-4673

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860 (Canada: 877-330-6366)

Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 press 1

There are also federal resources and national organizations where you can find resources for mental health, including:

MentalHealth.gov, which has resources for veterans, seniors, and young people.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

US Department of Veterans Affairs resources

Mental Health America 

Anxiety & Depression Association of America 

National Alliance on Mental Health

Remember, mental health issues aren’t anything to be ashamed of – resources are available to help you anonymously if you’d like.

And finally: Be kind. None of us truly knows what another is going through or carrying within themselves, but we can always try to choose compassion and empathy.

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