From the beginning, COVID-19 has presented special challenges for mental health for people of all ages, races, and socio-economic situations. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we checked in with CrossOver’s behavioral health program coordinator, Schliqua Thompson, about mental health a year into pandemic life.
What do you hope people might take time to consider during this mental health awareness month?
Mental Health Awareness Month provides a good opportunity to check in with yourself regarding your own mental health. Given all of the changes of the past year, some sample questions to ask yourself could be:
- “How am I doing?” “Am I okay?” “Do I feel overwhelmed, anxious, nervous in any way?”
- “Is there something that I am in the process of healing from that may need my attention?”
- “Do I have enough support available to me to effectively manage my mental health needs?”
- “Am I feeling equipped to manage all of the changes of the past year?”
- “Are there some areas of my life that I need to address to make my mental health better?”
- “Am I currently living my life in the most mentally healthy way possible?
Once you have checked in with yourself, you can then determine next steps to address your needs.
What do you think the COVID-19 pandemic can teach us about mental health?
The COVID-19 pandemic can teach us that our mental health and our physical health are inextricably intertwined. You cannot take good care of yourself physically without also taking good care of yourself mentally and vice versa. Just as we have strategies to take care of ourselves physically we also need to ensure that we have strategies in place to take care of ourselves mentally.
How can people support their own mental health or the mental health of loved ones?
Focus on making genuine connections with others by being fully present in the moment. Share in an activity with your loved one without distractions. When giving a listening ear, try to listen in order to understand and empathize, rather than respond. Support does not have to be formulaic. Oftentimes being there and being present is more than enough to make someone feel seen, supported and understood.
You can learn more about COVID-19 and mental health by joining us online for this year’s Spring into Action event on Tuesday, May 11, 12–1 p.m. Our theme will be COVID-19 and children’s mental health, and a panel discussion including CrossOver’s own Schliqua Thompson, LPC, will consider this topic. We will also premiere a video about CrossOver’s response to mental health needs. This is a live, virtual event, and it’s free of charge, though attendees will have the opportunity to make a donation if they choose. Learn more, register, or donate today.