Stakeholders Remind Missourians About Holiday Stress
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The holiday season can be stressful, and the COVID-19 pandemic will lead many Missourians to have feelings of isolation and loneliness in the weeks ahead, especially after the cancellation of many other personal celebrations this year.
The Missouri Department of Mental Health, Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare and Missouri Hospital Association are reminding all Missourians to safely support one another during the holidays.
“COVID-19 precautions can lead to feelings of distance, which can be especially profound during the holidays,” said Mark Stringer, Director of DMH. “For many Missourians, winter and the onset of the holidays alone is a stressor. This year, those feelings are likely to be magnified.”
According to a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.2% of Missourians experienced anxiety and depression symptoms this year between Nov. 25 and Dec. 7. In addition, 34% say their mental health is excellent, down from 43% in 2019.
“Social distancing shouldn’t keep Missourians from finding the connections they need during the holidays,” said Brent McGinty, President and CEO of the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare. “Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can help reduce their feelings of isolation and loneliness. At the same time, knowing how to set realistic expectations and finding time to step away from holiday stressors can help.”
Approximately 20% of adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of mental illness, with one in 25 experiencing a serious mental illness. As many as 10 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which influences mental health, primarily in the winter.
The three organizations released an infographic to help remind Missourians about the importance of mental health issues during the holiday season — and how to get help.
“We have the tools and time to stay connected during the holidays to limit the feelings of isolation and loneliness,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “For those that need additional help, behavioral health hotlines are available to help guide individuals to and through care.”
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