For now over 70 years, Americans have delegated the month of May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” (since 1949). And with medical experts and researchers across the planet sharing their observation that the Covid-19 pandemic is going to continue to have an array of mental health impacts into the foreseeable future, mental health awareness needs to remain in the forefront of our collective awareness.
In this current moment it appears it is, in fact, more important than ever to be focusing on our mental and emotional wellbeing. While many of us are experiencing some relief brought on by longer days and being reunited with family and friends after over a year of isolation, at Gateway we’re noticing the true picture this transition back to ‘normalcy’ is not so simple. While not a clinical diagnosis, the term ‘Pandemic PTSD’ is making it’s way into the zeitgeist as a way of describing the patterns of anxiety, irritability, fear, and avoidance that many of us are experiencing as we reengage with life in a more familiar way. While rationally understanding why this would occur certainly helps, it can still be difficult to cope with these emotionally distressing experiences when our reserves and resilience are depleted like never before. This month, as a nation, we aim to de-stigmatize the process asking for additional support. We seek to share resources with one another for the sake of developing a collective knowledge base about mental health issues and how to manage them.
Many organizations such a NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and MHA (Mental Health America) use this month to host events and share tools. In fact, the theme of this year for the second year running is #Tools2Thrive, and MHA has put together a wonderful set of resources that we could all benefit from spending some time with. At Gateway, we would like to encourage our clients, patients, and readers to practice patience and compassion with yourselves during this transition, knowing that the impacts of this disruptive year may take some time to resolve.