Tips for dealing with mental health issues

Farma Darya

SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) – Polling indicates nine out of 10 adults believe there is a mental health crisis in the U.S., and the pandemic only made it worse.

“Mental health is just important as physical health,” said Dexter Clarke, director of faith-based and community engagement at Genesee Health Systems.

Today is world mental health day, and the theme this year is “Make mental health for all a global priority.”

During the height of the pandemic, mental health rates rose drastically. And now that we appear to be moving into the endemic phase of covid, mental health across the world remains a growing concern.

“We overuse the term, ‘It’s ok to not be ok,’ ” Clarke said. “I think we need to be able to say, ‘It’s OK to be worried, it’s OK to be anxious, it’s OK to be fearful.’ But it’s not OK to be to a point where you can’t function.”

Clarke blames the rise in mental health problems not just on the pandemic, but also on tragedies such as school shootings and natural disasters such as Hurricane Ian.

He says acknowledging a mental health struggle is the first step to getting better.

“What we need to do first of all is admit that ‘I am a little stressed, I am overwhelmed, I am worried, I am feeling anxious,’ ” Clarke said. “After that, then what we need to do is say, ‘What do I need to do to deal with that?’ “

Outside of seeking professional help, Clarke says there are things we can do to cope with stress.

“Find something that you enjoy doing. With the pandemic, we were limited; we couldn’t go out, we couldn’t do things we used to enjoy,” Clarke said

“We’re getting back to where we can do those things so get involved with things that you enjoy doing. Whether that’s sports, whether it’s exercise, whether it’s going to a restaurant and eating at your favorite place, but find something that you enjoy doing.”

Clarke says a big thing to take away from today is knowing that mental health problems does not always mean mental illness, and that everyone struggles at times.

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