Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Thousands of people in Arkansas have COVID-19; more than 200 have died.
Tens of thousands of people are without work. Unemployment climbed to 10.2% in April.
And people in Arkansas and around the globe are protesting racial inequality and demanding justice after four police in Minnesota were charged in the death of an unarmed suspect.
It’s a LOT. It’s a lot to take in. It’s a lot to understand. It’s taking a toll on our mental and emotional wellbeing. July 15, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas asked its Facebook followers how they’d describe their emotional and mental status. Followers could list as many descriptions as they felt appropriate. After a week, 9 said they were “very worried,” 8 were “concerned,” 5 were experiencing “depression,” 4 were “angry” and 4 were “hopeful.” The number of people who said they felt “happy” despite everything going on was ZERO.
It’s not a lot of responses–far from scientific, but it’s telling all the same. How many consider themselves happy? Not one. Now more than ever, we have to take care of our mental wellbeing. Even under normal circumstances, one in five people will battle a serious mental illness in his/her lifetime.
According to Mental Health First Aid®, there are some simple things you can do to help yourself feel a little better. Exercise, fresh air, a healthy diet and listening to music can be helpful mood boosters.
If you find yourself feeling anxious, exercise is again a big help, along with relaxation training, self-help books and meditation. These tips, also helpful for easing depression. You can also try light therapy.
Recognizing that you’re feeling out of sorts is very important, as is being able to recognize possible mental and emotional distress in others. Not everyone is able to recognize their feelings, so someone else being able to see the signs and find help could be vital.
More times than not, it’s probably not going to be an easy conversation to have, but it could potentially save a life. So, it’s worth it. Mental Health First Aid came up with some conversation starters:
Just remember, this conversation isn’t only awkward for you. It’s likely to be just as awkward for your friend, co-worker or family member. Some of the best ways to avoid a possible defensive reaction are to:
· Exhibit calmness: Comfort your friend in a time of need.
· Be honest: Encourage them to trust you.
· Be non-judgmental: Create a safe space.
· Show empathy: Show that you really care.
· Be resourceful: Give your friend or family member ideas on where to get help.
· Be encouraging: Help him/her get support.
· Be reassuring: Make sure they know things are going to be ok.
If your friend or family member has contemplated suicide, seems to be falling into depression or has a history of substance use, don’t be afraid to step in with his or her best interest at heart. If you’d like to learn more about identifying and helping someone in a mental crisis, Goodwill offers Mental Health First Aid classes, where you can earn your certification through the National Council on Behavioral Health. For details, visit www.GoodwillAR.org/Academy