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Medical experts say self-care improves mental health

Publication: KLTV-TV (ABC, Tyler), KTRE-TV (ABC, Lufkin)

May is mental health awareness month, which encourages wellness and the importance of managing mental health.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, in February 2021, more than 43% of adults in Texas reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Social worker Vicki Wright at Texas Oncology in Tyler says it’s important for one or a close friend or family to pay attention to changes and feelings.

“One of the ways to tell that you’re struggling is if it’s interfering with your daily functioning,” said Wright.

Wright said unemployment, inability to complete tasks, and anxiety are some signs that can worsen mental health.

“It’s important just to speak up and talk to your healthcare provider about and find out what resources might be available for emotional support,” she said.

Wright recommends self-care methods to her patients, which she says can serve as a distraction.

“Getting enough rest, eating healthy, light exercise,” and having the energy to put into things one enjoys doing can bring normalcy back into their lives said Wright.

Wright said journaling can also help. “Writing down something that you’re thankful for each day or someone that you thankful for.”

Texas Oncology surveys found all of their patients that participated in their emotional support groups benefited in more than one way.

“A lot of times, you’ll realize, ‘hey, I feel that way too,’ and that can help you feel less alone,” Wright said.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with mental health distress, you can dial 988 for the 24/7 hotline.

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