Record editorial: Facing a mental health challenge? You don’t have to go it alone.
Perhaps it’s appropriate that Mental Health Awareness Month happens to coincide with what for many Parkites is a period of transition: We’re adjusting to loosened coronavirus restrictions and resuming some activities we abandoned when the disease started spreading last year. It’s a good time to check in on ourselves and one another and evaluate our mental health.
If you find that you’re struggling, understand that you are not alone. The plain truth is that it’s been an extraordinarily difficult year for nearly everyone in Summit County and beyond. Our lives were turned upside down over the last 13 months, and for many people, each day presented new challenges. The ground seemed to shift repeatedly beneath our feet.
It’s no wonder experts have been so concerned about the impacts of the pandemic on mental health. Recently, a Pew Research Center survey found that a stunning 21% of American adults were experiencing “high levels of psychological distress,” while 62% felt nervous, anxious or on edge at least some of the time. These and other statistics paint a stark picture: Every single one of us is either struggling with mental health issues that have been brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic or has friends and loved ones who are. And this silent crisis isn’t going away anytime soon.
Fortunately, no one in Summit County has to go through the fight by themselves.
Thanks to our commitment to addressing mental health, and the progress we’ve made over the last half-decade, our community is better equipped to provide aid than ever before. From school-based counselors who can offer help to children and teens to peer support groups for adults to counseling services offered by nonprofits, there are numerous resources available for people who are struggling.
Don’t know where to turn? The nonprofit Connect Summit County is a good starting point. It offers an exhaustive online guide to mental health resources in the county, aiming to ensure no one in the community is left behind. Additionally, Connect has organized a series of in-person and online events to mark Mental Health Awareness Month and educate people about the topic.
We’d all be wise to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more. Mental health is an issue that affects us all, either directly or indirectly, and the more we know, the better equipped we are to help ourselves or others when it matters most.
For more information about Connect Summit County, including its resource guide and directory and a schedule of its Mental Health Awareness Month events, visit connectsummitcounty.org. If you or someone you know is suicidal, help is available. Call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.
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