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Mental Health Awareness Week Highlights Help and Hope

Mental Health Awareness Week Highlights Help and Hope

Lincoln – As Mental Health Awareness Week – October 4-10 – is observed, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) urges Nebraskans to check in on their mental health. Within the week, National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding falls on Oct.6; National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 8, and World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.

Think you may be depressed? You’re not alone, and Mental Health America offers an online depression test at One in five adults experience mental illness every year, and 50% of chronic mental illness begins by age 14. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, there are too many myths surrounding mental illnesses. And with these myths comes stigma, misunderstanding and discrimination.

“Mental health conditions are important to discuss every day, but these observances provide a dedicated time for citizens across the country to come together with one unified voice and to provide hope and health to those who need it.  Many people do not seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don’t recognize the symptoms.” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “If you have, or think you may have, a mental health condition, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone.”

Dawson added that knowing warning signs just like we know warning signs for a heart attack or stroke is essential to overall health.  For many people, getting an assessment is the first step in a treatment plan. After diagnosis, a health care provider will develop a plan with you that could include medication, therapy and/or other lifestyle changes.

Warning signs can include:

  • Fear, irritability, sadness and worry
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Lack of energy and motivation to carry out your day-to-day activities
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs

Wondering if professional consultation would be helpful for you? Take a free, confidential screening for your mental health online at Bryan Health:

Try these coping strategies:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Have fun and be creative with activities.
  • Take care of your body.
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
    • Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
    • Avoid overeating, alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Keep a regular schedule to lessen worry and anxiety.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Stay connected through video calls with loved ones and friends.
  • Participate in virtual faith-based communities or other groups that may be supportive to your well-being.

There are free and confidential resources that can help. A few include:

  • Nebraska Family Helpline – any question, any problem, any time. (888) 866-8660
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)



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