Have you done a mental health check lately? May is Mental Health Awareness Month and as someone who struggles with anxiety and has dealt with depression it is so important to take care of not only our physical health but our mental health. In my opinion, it's the #1 thing we should take care of. Your mental health affects every other aspect of your life -- your overall mood, how you treat others, and how you take care of yourself.

Despite Mental Health Awareness Month being recognized since 1949, there has been a stigma surrounding mental health for way too long, and it's time to normalize it because the reality is YOU ARE NOT ALONE in how you feel. In fact, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing says that 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14 and 75% by 24.

So many of us go through it and you can get help ... whether it be through online resources, a therapist, a support group, or just vocalizing how you feel to somebody.

Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health is just one place you can turn to. SWMBH is a nonprofit that is in partnership with local agencies and organizations in eight West Michigan counties. According to their website they provide

...mental health services to adults with severe and persistent mental illness, children with severe emotional disturbance, individuals with developmental disabilities, and individuals with substance use disorders.

You can follow them on Facebook as they highlight different topics and tips when dealing with mental health such as self-care, building relationships, loneliness, and anxiety. Their latest post discusses how to cope with challenges in life, which can be especially hard when you feel like things are just going wrong. You'd be surprised how gratitude and a positive attitude can change how you feel.

Yes, life is hard and we are busy, but to be the best you for yourself and your loved ones, you must take a moment to stop and do a mental health check.

For more info about Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health and the services they can provide, visit their website.

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Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic: