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National Mental Illness Week: How to manage depression, anxiety amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Local mental health experts say the pandemic can be a factor in anxiety or depression.

This week is National Mental Illness Week. 

The number of people experiencing anxiety and depression has increased during the pandemic. Dr. Sherli Ratner a Clinical Psychologist at MetroHealth says what we’re all experiencing right now is something no one is fully equipped to handle.

“At difficult times people tend to find comfort in social gatherings and this is a time when the very thing that we need is the very thing that we’re being asked to limit,” says Dr. Ratner.

Experts say try to be cognizant of yourself or a loved one who lacks motivation to do anything and withdraws from normal interactions because it could be depression. Shayna Jackson, Chief Clinical Officer at Crossroads Health says to watch for signs of anxiety.

“Are you feeling very overwhelmed, are you feeling like ‘I can’t even get all of this done, am I feeling agitated that no one is helping me’,” says Jackson.

If you have symptoms, you’re not alone. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experiences mental illness and one in twenty-five adults experience a serious mental illness in their lifetime. Its recommended everyone be proactive now to set up support systems before the winter comes.

“Setting up some social gatherings whether its once a week doing a zoom with a couple of friends. Old friends, new friends, coworkers,” says Ratner.

If your concerned about the mental health of a friend or loved one, reach out.

“Hey, I’ve noticed that you’ve seemed a little bit more irritable than you normally are and I’m worried about you. Let’s talk a little bit about that,” says Jackson.

The last recommendation, is not to compare yourself to someone else. We’re all in the pandemic together, but we have different resources and reactions to life’s events.

“Respect where you’re at and give grace to where you’re at cause we’re all trying to get through this,” says Jackson.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, its recommended you call 911 or a suicide hotline.

National Suicide Hotline: 888-273-8255

Cleveland Suicide Hotline: 216-623-6888

Akon Suicide Hotline: 330-434-9144 

Crisis Text Line: 4HOPE to 741741 anytime, any day