This past year presented many different challenges and obstacles that tested our individual and collective strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well being of individuals within our communities.

Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why during Mental Health Month this May, Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) is highlighting #Tools2Thrive — what individuals can do in their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During Mental Health Month, we will be highlighting different activities and strategies for processing the events of the past year and the feelings surrounding them while also building up skills and supports beyond COVID-19.

We know that the past year forced many to accept challenging situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that the pandemic impacted your mental health, you are not alone. In fact, of almost 500,000 people who took the anxiety screening at mhascreening.org, 79 percent showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help you improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.

It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis. A great starting point for anyone ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at mhascreening.org. It’s a quick, free and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing.

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, TCHNetwork will be offering many free community events, including yoga classes, behavioral health courses and a resource fair. Yoga classes will be held on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. at the Gondola Plaza with certified yoga instructor Julia Johnson. Bring your mat and your yogi mindset for this hour of self-care, stretching and movement. Additionally, please refer to our website for dates and times of upcoming safeTALK Suicide Alertness courses and Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid courses. To finish off the month, TCHNetwork is partnering with numerous local organizations to host a resource fair May 24 from 2-5 p.m. in Elks Park. At the fair, local organizations will share the various #Tools2Thrive that they can offer.

Ultimately, during May, TCHNetwork wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real and recovery is possible. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find a balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic. No matter what you may be going through, our community has the resources to ensure you are not alone.

Visit our website at tchnetwork.org/events-and-classes, Facebook page at Tri-County Health Network, or contact info@tchnetwork.org if you have any questions about these events.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call the Colorado Crisis Services line at 1-844-493-TALK, or text “TALK” to 38255.

ABOUT TRI-COUNTY HEALTH NETWORK

Formed in 2010, Tri-County Health Network is a 501c3 nonprofit with offices in Telluride and Naturita. TCHNetwork operates 20 community outreach programs that serve a vital role in filling the void of access to healthcare by assuring care is accessible, affordable, and available to all populations in our four-county region (San Miguel, Montrose, Ouray and Delta counties). We are committed to increasing access to care, building health equity, and eliminating health disparities. For more information, visit tchnetwork.org.