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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #MayIsMentalHealthAwarenessMonth


This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The #COVID-19 #pandemic forced us as Mississippians to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our #mentalhealth as a result.  In the face of an unparalleled situation that affected communities all around our country and the entire world, our work lives changed, our personal lives changed, and we all had to learn how to handle those changes.

We began to hear more of an emphasis about how important it was for us to focus on our #mentalhealth. When so many of us, and our neighbors and friends, experienced job loss or their homes also became their offices, and many became both the educator and #parent for their #children, we had to learn how to make time for ourselves. Our #mentalhealth, and how we maintained it, was suddenly a part of so many conversations that it probably wouldn’t have been in before, and words such as quarantine, #isolation and #socialdistancing became part of our everyday lingo.

Now, more than ever, we need to change our perceptions surrounding our #mentalhealth because common misconceptions often prevent people from seeking help they need. Our #mentalhealth is just one part of our overall health and wellness. That’s why during #MentalHealthMonth, the Mississippi Department of #MentalHealth encourages Mississippians to think again when it comes to their personal #mentalhealth.

The focus on our #mentalhealth should not apply just to #adults — our #children are not immune to #mentalhealth problems. #Anxiety and #depression are among the most diagnosed #mentaldisorders in #children, and almost 75% of #children diagnosed with #depression also have #anxiety.

#Mentalhealth is something everyone should care about, especially knowing that the #COVID-19 #pandemic has had a profound impact on the #mentalhealth of Mississippians of all ages. We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over.

If you found that the past year impacted your #mentalhealth, you are not alone. In fact, phone calls to the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline from Mississippians increased by 40% in 2020. However, there are services and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and our communities.

Know that working on your #mentalhealth and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change will not happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.

A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their #mentalhealth is to access the #MentalHealthMonth and Think Again campaign information and resources we are sharing through our #socialmedia outlets and on our website, http://www.dmh.ms.gov, throughout May. These tools are designed to help everyone improve their #mentalhealth and increase their resiliency. If you are seeking information on services, call the DMH Helpline at 1-877-210-8513 or visit http://www.mentalhealthms.com. Staff are available to provide help around the clock.

Ultimately, during the month of May, DMH wants to remind everyone that #mentalillnesses are real, and recovery is possible. By developing your own tools to thrive, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the #pandemic.

The past year has been difficult. Things are getting better, but we don’t know when they will be back to what we would have called normal at the beginning of 2020. It’s more important than ever to focus on our health. Let’s remember that our health includes our #mentalhealth, get help when we need it, and most importantly, encourage others to do the same.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

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


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