OHIO — May is Mental Health Month and as more Americans get vaccinated, many have said they're feeling uneasy about adjusting to in-person interaction once the pandemic ends.
"Well a lot of us are still dealing with the trauma that we've experienced over the course of the last year so a 'return to normal' isn't exactly the same normal that it used to be, and that gives people a lot of stress, and frankly, a lot of distress as well," said Paul Gionfriddo, the president and CEO of Mental Health America.
In late June 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed adults about the status of their mental health. Results showed 31% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, 26% has stress-related symptoms, 13% reported having started or increased substance use and 11% reported having serious thoughts of suicide.
"We have to see our health and mental health as absolutely intertwined and just because we get through a pandemic and begin to come out the other side on the physical health side, it doesn't mean we simultaneously do that on the mental health side as well,"
Gionfriddo said it's going to take time to come to terms with all the emotions
"Try to understand what's going on in your own head. Often the first step on recovery for something like this is to first surface the thoughts that you got, surface the feelings and acknowledge them and that they're real and that you're going through them," Gionfriddo said.
The second and third steps include talking to loved ones or talking to a professional about those feelings to help move forward.
Watch the full interview above for more tips from Gionfriddo.
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services: 1-877-275-6364 (8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio: 1-800-686-2646 (24/7 helpline)
- Mental Health America: 703-684-7722