SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Saturday was World Mental Health Day, and experts say holding on to stress can take a toll on lives.
This year’s World Mental Health Day comes at a time with more unknowns and confusion than many have seen in their lifetime.
“Particularly during these times that are very challenging, when you turn on the news, there are a number of issues that present themselves as very concerning but also pose a significant amount of stress on people,” said Lois Nesci, CEO of the Gandara Center.
She said every day people should be aware about mental health.
She said talking about things like the election, COVID-19, and racial equity can be stressful.
“These times cause additional anxiety and stress for people, and if folks find themselves either feeling that way or people around them — the way you see a lot of this manifest is that people become a lot angrier, a lot more impatient, a lot more fearful, and I think it’s important for us all to be aware of our own emotions, and the emotions and stress of people around us,” she said.
The World Health Organization said in times like these, investment in mental health is even more important.
In a statement on their website, the organization said in part, “Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.”
Places like Gandara — which is a center for those struggling and feeling lost — is helping people both on-site and virtually. But Nesci had self care suggestions people can do on their own.
“Doing things that bring some type of normalcy,” she said. “On a beautiful day like today, to go for a walk, to get out, to do some of the things that make you feel good.”
She said mental health is equally as important as physical health, but it tends to come with a stigma.
“People are oftentimes embarrassed about mental health issues, and there’s no need to be,” she said. “Mental health is like physical health. We have to take care of our emotions as well as our physical bodies. So on a day like today, we should all be aware of that. We should acknowledge that mental health is equally as important as physical health.”