May is Mental Health Awareness Month and while the future of the pandemic is uncertain, its impacts on mental health are long-lasting.

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.

Among the more extreme are harming oneself, severe out-of-control driving, risk-taking behaviors, hallucinations, and much more. But struggles with mental health can sometimes be more subtle, according to NAMI’s website, such as excessive worrying or fear, feeling excessively sad or low, changes in eating or sleeping habits or an inability to carry out daily activities, among other symptoms.

Good sleep, daily physical activity and good social interactions help improve mental health.

If you or a loved one are struggling, you are not alone and there are ways to help.

You can call the 24/7 mental health crisis line at 541-774-8201.

The stigma behind mental illness can be a difficult barrier but, according to Ramirez, knowing that there are recovery plans helps reduce the stigma.

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By Tiffany Olin