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Mental health experts work to raise awareness of pandemic challenges

In a virtual press conference Monday, mental health experts in Maine shared challenges regarding the upcoming holiday season during a pandemic.

MAINE, USA — Mental health is something we've been reporting on throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as many people are finding themselves isolated. With the holidays right around the corner, that isolation may become even more challenging for some.

Mental health experts say more people have been calling hotlines for help

"Since the pandemic hit we've seen an increase in calls, as well as an intensity of calls," Tracy Mallwitz with the Maine Crisis Line said.

Now, the holidays are coming. Mallwitz said that there is more concern about the isolation component of the pandemic this time of year because people want to be able to see their family and loved ones during a time of year people are typically gathering with their family.

"The holidays is traditionally a tough time for families we work with and I can't imagine that this current situation isn't going to just exacerbate that for them," Gabriel Smith from KidsPeace said.

Experts prepared a 'tool kit' to help Mainers get through the holiday season in the hopes of making sure people know they are not alone. Some of the tips in the tool kit are:

  • Get enough sleep and nutrition use coping skills like exercise and journaling, 
  • Limit media exposure, 
  • Reach out to family and friends 
  • Call helplines or other resources if you need it

Some of those helplines are:

"We're seeing more and more people that have never experienced mental health issues that are calling our line now," Mallwitz added.

Mental health experts say raising awareness and talking about how many people are experiencing mental health challenges during this time is important in order to remind people they are not alone.

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