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Mental Health Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

We have all been affected in some way, whether directly or indirectly, by the devastating events of the past year. While the COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to finally bring about an end to the pandemic in New York and our nation, there are many uncertainties about the future. The year was also marked by intense pain in the wake of violence against people of color. Asian Americans have recently been the victims of several violent attacks across the nation. And although many are feeling relieved with the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, there is also sadness and anger around continued acts of police violence, including the fatal shootings of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

As a result, many people may be experiencing heightened depression and anxiety.

It’s important to know that you are not alone. That’s the theme that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is focusing on this May, for Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a time to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental health issues, such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and ways to attain mental health and wellness.  It also draws attention to the issue of suicide, which can be precipitated by depression and anxiety.

What Can We Do?

Though it may be difficult, it’s important to reach out for help if you are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety or hopelessness. There are many resources available for those who wish to talk to a mental health expert:

  • The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support. HelpLine volunteers are available to answer questions and offer practical next steps. Staff and volunteers are experienced, well-trained and able to provide guidance.
  • NAMI also provides Sharing Hope: An African-American Guide to Mental Health, as well as information about becoming a leader in speaking about African-American mental health.
  • For anyone dealing specifically with COVID-19-related anxiety, Project Hope offers a helpline and other resources.
  • The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people, including a hotline.
  • One of the best forms of suicide prevention is to recognize signs that someone is struggling, including significant changes in a friend or loved one’s behavior, such as diet, sleep patterns, or unwillingness to talk on the phone or show up to social events.  The Samaritans offers a free, confidential, 24-hour crisis hotline, as does NYC Well, part of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

We can get through even the toughest times with compassion and help, and with access to the right resources.

Additional Resources

Amida Care members can call Beacon Health Options directly for support: 866-664-7142.

The New York State Office of Mental Health offers an emotional support hotline (7 days a week from 8 am to 10 pm): 1-844-863-9314.

General Mental Health Resources (CDC)

Stress and Coping with COVD-19 (CDC)

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mental Health Education Guides

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