“Everything is different, everything has been altered” | Experts offer advice on managing mental health

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and this past year has been especially tough for a lot of reasons. Mental health professionals are suggesting grace with both yourself and others.

Now more than ever, mental health professionals suggest finding a routine that feels normal.

“Everything is different, everything has been altered. So now making sure that you’re getting back into a routine, staying in a routine, and just staying healthy is going to be the most important thing people can do,” said Cicely Alvis, Director of Mental Health and Case Management for Northeast Tennessee Frontier Health.

This year has come with a lot of changes and people have coped in different ways. Restrictions and the constant changes of restrictions have caused some to experience anxiety.

“I think it’s really important that we all, for lack of a better terminology here, manage our expectations. I think everyone is doing the best they can and making the best decisions they can,” said Alvis. “Making sure we are doing the right thing for everyone can be really challenging. Try to make really good, positive choices and exercise gratitude as often as possible.”

Alvis said if you recognize someone is struggling, open that conversation and really listen.

“Try to just be supportive the best way we can, and that can just be as simple as just going for a walk or having a healthy meal together or just doing something fun that is engaging and offering a little bit of hope,” Alvis said.

She also said to seek help if you need it.

“There’s so many more therapy options available that are virtual and audio. If somebody needs help, there’s something out there for them,” Alvis said.

Alvis emphasized if you are having a hard time, remember it’s not going to be an immediate fix and to be patient with yourself.

Below are resources if you or a loved one needs help:

Frontier Health

National Alliance of Mental Health

National Suicide Hotline

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