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World Mental Health Day 2020 comes in the middle of a pandemic

Heath experts say this year's Mental Health Day is more important than ever because of the stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic

MAINE, Maine — Every year the world comes together to reflect on mental health. October 10 is World Mental Health Day and across the globe, the light is being shined on ending the stigma associated with mental health.

Miki MacDonald is a Nurse Practitioner with Saint Joseph Hospital's Internal Medicine Clinic in Bangor. Along with treating physical health, she said she works with people on their mental health every day.

“People are experiencing a tremendous amount of stress because of the pandemic," MacDonald said. “People are very worried and fearful and frustrated and angry, there’s like every emotion is coming out.”

For months and months, Mainers have been living with new rules and guidelines which has disrupted life and daily routine. MacDonald said getting enough sleep, eating well, and sticking to a routine are great ways to keep sharp during the pandemic.

“Even in chaos there is peace and finding that peace is very important for your wellbeing," she added.

Chris McLaughlin is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and is the Associate Vice President of Community and Pediatric Services at  Northern Light Acadia Hospital. He added that he's seen a rise in mental health issues in three times as many adults as this time last year. 

Credit: NCM

“41% of adults are struggling with some kind of mental health issue, a behavioral health issue," he said.

McLaughlin said even now that the weather is getting a bit colder it's, important to make time for yourself, whether it's getting active, getting outside, or spending time with a pet. 

Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

Another thing the two experts mentioned is World Mental Health Day is the perfect time to reach out to family, friends, or anyone you may know dealing with mental health issues.

Credit: NCM

“The more we talk about mental health, the more we reduce the stigma around some of these really taboo subjects, the more likely folks are going to be to reach out and seek help when they need it," McLaughlin said,

MacDonald said you may never know if a simple phone call can be the difference in someone's life.

“Reach out to them, write them a card, a text, anything because you never know if you could save someone’s life," she added.

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