May is Mental Health Month – Resources by Pierce College

Established in 1949, Mental Health Month has been recognized each May with the goal to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health
struggles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness over the course of their lifetimes, and each of us face challenges that can and will impact our mental health.

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. Mental health, especially depression, increases the risk of many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The presence of chronic conditions can also increase the risk for mental illness.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry during the
pandemic, and learning strategies to cope with stress in a healthy way is more important than ever. Below are a few healthy ways to cope with stress and improve your mental health:

• Take a break from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including those on social media
• Use your vacation time to take a break from work, when you are able
• Take care of your body: eat healthy, exercise regularly, avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse
• Continue with routine preventive measures, such as vaccinations and cancer screenings as recommended by your healthcare provider

Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on social identities. Although anyone can have their mental health impacted, there are unique struggles that people of color face in the United States. In an effort to better address these challenges, mental health advocate Bebe Moore Campbell was instrumental in the establishment of BIPOC Mental Health Month, recognized each July since 2008.

For anyone facing mental health issues, it is important to remember that recovery is possible, and help is available. Pierce College employees also have access to the Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling services. This free, confidential program is designed to promote the health, safety and well-being of public employees.

Pierce College also offers a variety of mental health and counseling resources for students. Our counselors are just a click or call away, offering telehealth sessions to students by phone or secure video chat. Specific counseling resources are available for students of color, members of the LGBTQ community, veterans and more.

Find more information about mental health resources for students here.

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