Local doctor discusses importance of recognizing mental health during pandemic

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The world is seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, and mental health is still an important concern. Mental health is something that a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about, but organizations are working to change that.

Many people are feeling depressed, anxious or even suicidal due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Doctor Shameca Hudson said it’s time to break the stigma and help.

“Mental illness does not have a look, and I think the goal is to break the stigma around mental illness. Mental illness should be viewed as a medical condition that needs to be monitored regularly,” explained Hudson.

One in five adults are suffering from a mental illness. Although you may think you know which one it is, smiling doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering.

“There’s no way to tell that a person is depressed just by looking at them. Some people feel sad, hopeless, and helpless, worthless.”

One topic that people usually shy away from is suicide.

“Eight out of 10 show warning signs of thinking \ about suicide. So it’s really important to know what those things are, things like increased sleep or decreased sleep. Those are indicators,” said Molly Portera, Division of Outreach and Training Director at the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

There are things that you can do now to help you and others stay mentally strong during this time.

“Get plenty of rest, exercise, you can do yoga or meditate but do not self medicate with alcohol or drugs,” said Hudson.

“Even just a phone call can do a lot for yourself but also that other person as well,” said Portera.

To find more information on the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s helpline and Shatter The Silence Campaign, visit here.

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