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Importance of mental health awareness during COVID-19

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:39 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - According to health experts, not only are some Americans dealing with depression due to isolation because of Covid-19, they now might also be battling seasonal depression.

With the weather outside getting colder and people across the nation spending a lot of time at home it is important to not only take time for yourself but also check in on your loved ones.

“Check on your loved ones, and check yourself - it’s self-care. Self-care is one of the most important things that we emphasize in the mental health field because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else,” said Melanie Watts, Director of Community Engagement, LifeSkills.

13 News spoke to Watts about key signs you should look out for if you think yourself or a loved one might be battling depression.

“We usually see sadness by way of isolation, and it’s hard because right now. A lot of people are isolating due to Covid. But when I say isolation, that means they’re not reaching out to family or friends, they’re not Zooming, they’re not face-timing. They may be crying, a lot more emotional. They may be totally just keeping to themselves and closing off a little bit more than usual. A lot of times depression manifests itself in ways that you might not think of. We joke about our COVID-19 weight gain, but a lot of people, you know, may be eating or they may be overeating, or they may be under-eating, which is going to be a hard thing with Thanksgiving coming up to process, but those are just some outwardly signs,” Watts added.

If you are struggling with working from home something as simple as changing your outfit could help improve your mental health. Something like creating a daily routine for yourself could help you find a sense of normalcy, and really help you improve on a day to day basis.

“It’s hard for everyone right now. But especially for people with mental illness, who are even more isolated from the help they may need or the people that they may need, the support system around them. So just a few things of what we like to suggest you do and reach out to someone outside of your home. Do something that you want to do. Whether it’s hey, I’m going to watch you know, The Crown on Netflix, just do something for yourself. Do one thing that you wouldn’t normally do whether that’s take time, read a book, watching your show, whatever. Watch your soap opera, whatever it is take time for you. But also just engage with those people in your home,” Watts added.

If you feel like talking with your friends and family is not enough and you really need professional help you can reach out to Life Skills.

“LifeSkills is the community mental health center for our region. So we offer all therapeutic services, whether adults or children, they can reach out to us at 270-901-5000. That is one number that you will call and we will field your call, we’ll get you in. Right now we are doing virtual therapy. So we’ll get you in to talk to someone and that’s the most important thing. If you have a loved one who you think is depressed, even dealing with seasonal depression, that’s huge, you know, too, so you compound that with COVID and it might send you for a tailspin. Talk to your loved ones and tell them that you’re concerned and that there are people out there that want to listen and to help. If it’s a crisis situation, in terms of you feel that your loved one’s going to hurt or harm themselves. Or even if you yourself, need someone to talk to you in the moment of crisis, we have a crisis line that’s manned 24/7, and that is (270) 843-4357 and someone is always there to talk and hear and listen,” added Watts.

To learn more about LifeSkills and the services they offer click here.

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