Pandemic escalates concerns over mental well-being

Mental Health Awareness Week raises awareness about issues related to mental well-being
Bill Emahiser is a mental health expert with Unison Health.
Bill Emahiser is a mental health expert with Unison Health.(Chase Bachman)
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:38 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States, an effort that was created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) more than 30 years ago with the goal to raise awareness and educate people about issues relating to mental health.

NAMI says that nearly 1 in 5 Americans deals with mental illness. Bill Emahiser, a professional with Unison Health, said anything that affects social well-being can damage people’s mental health. Since the start of the pandemic, Emahiser saw a wave of new people with concerns for their own mental well-being.

“With the pandemic and the fallout from the pandemic that we’re continuing to experience, we’re seeing much larger numbers,” Emahiser said. “The numbers of clients that are seeking, people that are seeking mental health services that are being impacted. And we are seeing increases, unfortunately, in suicides and in overdoses”

But the promising news is there are ways to treat mental illness. Medication, therapy, and even exercise are effective options. For someone whose relative is feeling ill, Emahiser says there are things you can do to approach them.

“I think the most important thing is to actually have an open and honest dialogue. If you recognize that things are happening that are out of the ordinary for your loved one, that they seem more depressed or more anxious and it’s starting to impact their lives, start that conversation, have that conversation,” Emahiser said.

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