Cross-posted from Public Health Insider
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being. Mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, are real, common, and treatable.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and Public Health are teaming up to share resources and communicate the importance of mental health to overall health.
If your mental health has taken a hit recently, you aren’t alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on mental health and emotional well-being. Overall, more adults in our region have reported feeling anxious or depressed since the start of the pandemic. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities in King County also face ongoing additional threats to their safety, health, and emotional well-being because of racism and inequities.
There are practical tools and resources to support emotional health and well-being—including resources by and for BIPOC communities. Taking action to check in with yourself and your community can help to change attitudes and misunderstandings around mental health, making it easier for everyone to access tools and resources to thrive.
Here are some ways you can help:
Check in with yourself
- Take a mental health screen from Mental Health America. It’s an easy, free, and private way to assess your mental health and get support. After the screening, you’ll get information, resources, and tools to help you understand and improve your mental health.
- Take a depression screen at FindYourWords.org. You can also learn how to talk about depression, how to manage thoughts of suicide, and how you can help end the silence around mental health.
- Call or text the Washington Listens help line at 1-833-681-0211. Washington Listens provides free, anonymous support to anyone in Washington state who feel sad, anxious, or stressed due to the events of the past year, including COVID-19.
- Connect with weekly peer-led groups and mental health resources for BIPOC communities from NAMI Seattle. This page shares links to local organizations, online resources, self care tips, and provider directors to support BIPOC mental health.
- Visit the our community support and well-being website for more resources.
Check in with your people
- Use the Just Checking in Tool to start a conversation with your loved ones on how they are doing. The tool provides 10 simple questions to use to check in with loved ones.
- Listen with compassion when someone shares their struggle. This guide from the CDC shares words and phrases to help our loved ones feel heard and affirmed when they share.
- Read these tips for talking mental health and emotional well-being. The words we use when we talk about mental health matter. This guide shares easy dos and don’ts and sample questions for talking about mental health.
- Follow South King Emotional Wellness League. SKEWL is a community partnership promoting mental health and emotional well-being in south King County communities most impacted by COVID-19 and police violence, including virtual mental health supports and other resources.