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Take Care of Your Mental Health During May

Mental Health During COVID-19

May 7, 2020

The goal of Mental Health Awareness Month — observed during the month of May — is to enhance awareness about mental health and the crises that occur when we fail to address mental health early through prevention, early intervention or treatment. Since it was established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has reached tens of millions of individuals struggling with mental health issues of their own or of those they love.

Why does this matter? Every year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. And, while 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic

During this time of COVID-19, staying connected is more important now than ever before. Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation from others. We can all stay connected through phone calls, video chats and other creative means. During this month, we hope you’ll find value in the tools, resources and content that mental health organizations are sharing and consider sharing it with others.

This Mental Health Checklist, created by Make It OK — Iowa, is meant to motivate and inspire you this month to consider your own mental health and well-being daily! It includes the suggested activities:

Every Day, I Will:

  • Move my body
  • Take a screen-time break
  • State three things I am grateful for (write down or say aloud)
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Sleep for 7-9 hours a night

Once Each Week, I Will:

  • Connect virtually with a friend or family member
  • Plan an outdoor activity, like a picnic, hike or bicycle ride
  • Set a new goal, like finishing a work, school or home project
  • Claim a win for the week: it can be big or small. Celebrate with a reward or an act of kindness towards yourself!

Once This Month, I Will:

  • Finish reading a book
  • Take a one-day break from all social media and news
  • Try a creative activity
  • Help someone or complete a community service project

This checklist also encourages you to set goals for activities that are beneficial to your own personal mental health.

Make It OK is community campaign to reduce stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding about mental illness. Start by learning what a mental illness really is. Then, find out what to say and not to say when someone opens up to you. You can also help others by sharing your own story to help people know they aren’t alone. Learn more about how you can get involved at MakeItOK.org/Iowa.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Jami Haberl

Jami Haberl is the Executive Director of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven to ensure every Iowan can live their healthiest life. She’s a transformational government and nonprofit leader known for building, implementing and measuring public health initiatives in the private and nonprofit sectors.