May is Mental Health Awareness Month

(KNSI) — May is Mental Health Awareness Monthaiming to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.

Like outward signs of physical illness, therapists say it’s important to look for signs when someone we know might be struggling with mental illness. Symptoms may include feeling sad or down for an extended period, confused thinking, inability to concentrate or make decisions, excessive fears, worry, extreme feelings of guilt, withdrawal from family and friends, low energy, sleep problems, paranoia, extreme highs followed by extreme lows, changes in eating habits or sex drive, excessive anger, hostility or violent behavior, and suicidal thoughts.

The Mayo Clinic says Sometimes mental health disorder symptoms appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.

If you or someone you know may be having mental health issues, doctors say to have an open and honest discussion about your concerns, and there is no shame in talking to a professional and seeking help.

Therapists also say that we may not feel like we’re dealing with a mental illness, but sometimes we get bogged down and stressed out, and it’s important to take stock of how much day to day responsibilities impact our overall mental health and speak up when it gets to be too much.

Speaking up can mean drawing healthy emotional boundaries with a needy friend or family member, disconnecting from work, and asking for help around the house.

Mental health professionals also say saving a mental health crisis line in your cell phone contacts is a good idea in case you or someone you know needs that resource.

Mental health crisis resources:

Central Minnesota Mental Health Center’s 24/7 crisis line for Sherburne, Benton, Stearns and Wright counties: 1-800-635-8008
National crisis text line: Text MN to 741741
National talk line: 1-800-273-8255 Veterans can also call that number and press 1.
Local crisis line for Todd, Wadena, Morrison, Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties: 1-800-462-5525
Local crisis line for Mille Lacs, Kanabec and Isanti counties: 1-800-523-3333

The CMMHC has a list of resources for suicide prevention and other concerns and topics surrounding mental health and well-being on its website here.

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