By Dr. Joe Hibblen,
#SeptemberisNationalSuicidePreventionAwarenessMonth, and a good time check in with yourself and loved ones. So many of us are struggling to keep our #mentalhealth in check right now. It’s normal to feel anxious about the impacts of #COVID-19. Preventing our worries from consuming us can reduce #stress and uncertainty—and even more severe behavioral health issues like #suicide.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Join Barton Health in raising awareness of #suicideprevention during this important time: know the signs, find the words, and reach out to others. You can get resources and learn more at BartonHealth.org/SuicidePreventionMonth. I encourage you to promote your own well-being during these challenging times; here are five tips to help reduce #anxiety that can be brought on by the #pandemic:
Tip 1: Follow #CDC Guidelines
If you’re nervous about contracting the #virus, put your mind more at ease by following prevention tips from the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention (CDC). Information, guidelines, and local updates are available at CDC.gov and BartonHealth.org/Coronavirus.
Tip 2: Engage Your Mind, and Your Friends
Most of us are spending more time isolated and at home. You can choose to release yourself from being consumed by #anxiety-fueled thoughts and getting caught up in a cycle of #stress. Prize this time for renewal if you can. Some ideas include engaging friends and family in new ways; such as virtual events and socially distanced outdoor get-togethers. Flexing your brain supports #mentalhealth, and this is a great time to read new books and explore games, puzzles, and apps. Experimenting with new recipes is also beneficial, and I recommend trying to create a meal each week with ingredients that nourish mental function, like seafood and vegetables.
Tip 3: Go Back to Basics
Mental and behavioral health is rightfully getting a lot of attention these days. Restoring your physical health is critical to mental well-being and protects your body. Use your extra free time to focus consistently following a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising 30 minutes or more daily. Take this month to create healthy habits and make time for routines such as taking walks around your neighborhood, enjoying a favorite hike or trail, bicycling, or trying a free workout video online.
Tip 4: Monitor Your #Stress Signals
Are you eating more or less than usual? Feeling overly tired? Getting stomach aches? These may be clues that your #stress levels are skyrocketing. Other warning signs include struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, drinking alcohol or using drugs more than usual, feeling angry, and having difficulty concentrating. If you identify with one or more of these symptoms, it’s probably time for a change.
Tip 5: Ask for Help
Don’t suffer in silence. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. If #stress is disrupting your life, reach out for help. That might mean calling a family member for emotional support or contacting your healthcare provider. In addition to local #mentalhealthservices, the Disaster Distress Hotline provides 24/7 crisis counseling by calling 800.985.5990, or texting TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor.
If you are contemplating hurting yourself or others, dial 911. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, and they often indicate more serious #mentalhealthissues. Talking about #suicide has been shown to reduce thoughts of hopelessness, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. Or, if you know someone who might be struggling, reach out to that person. Safe, accessible care is available.
Board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Joe Hibbeln recently joined the team of mental and behavioral health providers practicing at Barton Health in South Lake Tahoe, CA, and Stateline, NV. He is presenting at Barton’s free community Wellness Webinar on September 17, 2020 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. To learn more and register, visit BartonHealth.org/Lectures.