The last two months have been isolating for some and maybe even brought on feelings of uncertainty. In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, two local organizations are teaming up to remind those who are struggling that they are not alone.
"A lot of people are a little lost," Caroline Johnson, the communications coordinator for San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health, said. "People are experiencing mental health symptoms maybe they've never experienced before."
Johnson says that one in five Americans struggles with a mental illness. As shelter-at-home orders remain in place and social interactions are at a minimum, recognizing changes in mental health are as important as ever.
"If somebody has never had these symptoms, they might have escalated anxiety," Johnson said. "Maybe they aren't sleeping, maybe they aren't eating as normal, maybe they're feeling a little bit depressed, maybe they're sleeping too much."
May is a month to acknowledge mental health awareness. This year, while following health and safety guidelines, SLO County Behavioral Health and Transitions Mental Health Association will be partnering to remind the community of the mental health resources available.
"We're going to say hi to people as they drive through and we'll be giving them their Ziploc care package that's been packaged safely, and give them a sweet treat, tell them we're thinking about them and send them on their way," Johnson said.
Friday, May 15 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the parking lot at Transitions Mental Health Association, community members can simply drive through to receive a care package and information on mental health services.
"They're going to get a care package to support their own mental health, like, chapstick, and stress balls, and little seeds to plant in their garden, and coloring sheets, and of course, all those good resources that can direct them to services in our county, if they need them," Johnson said.
If you're not struggling, maybe you know someone who is.
"We need to stay vigilant," Frank Warren, division manager for SLO County Behavioral Health, said. "Keep reaching out to our neighbors and our community so that they can continue to get those social connections.7"
As most services have gone virtual, ways that you can improve your mental health can be found in the palm of your hand through platforms like Instagram TV.
"We have one of our therapists, Cassie Ueberrhein, who produces a short video," Warren said. "She talks about your mental health and wellness and gives you tips and strategies to be able to cope in times like this."
The drive-thru services will be offered the following days and times throughout the rest of May:
Friday, May 15, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Transitions Mental Health Association, 784 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo
Friday, May 22, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Paso Robles Library Parking Lot- 1000 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Friday, May 29, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Woman's Club of Arroyo Grande, 211 Vernon Street, Arroyo Grande
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the SLO Hotline at 800-783-0607.