Don’t ignore the blues during Mental Health Awareness Month.
It’s been an isolating year, and May, Mental Health Awareness Month, is a good time to recognize the challenge it’s been and reach out for support.
“Depression rates have tripled during the pandemic, and there’s no sign of that abating,” says Diane Kisinger, executive director of the West Virginia State Organization of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. “And I think there are still a lot of people that suffer with mental health issues and don’t reach out for various reasons, whether they just don’t recognize it or feel there’s a stigma associated with it.”
DBSA has been in West Virginia since 1987 and runs support groups across the state, including in Morgantown. Groups are peer-led, open to anyone, and free. Kisinger suggests attending a group a few times before deciding if it’s right for you or not.
“We also have a daily check-in conference call, if you just need somebody to chat with in the morning to get your day off right or see what you’re going to do to make yourself feel better that day,” Kisinger says.
The DBSA parent organization website also offers an array of resources, including online support groups, a 24/7 chat room, Mood Crew for children, tips for helping others, and more.
“We are not a substitute for professional help, but we’re a supplement,” Kisinger says. “Most of the people involved have had disorders at some time or have loved ones who’ve had disorders, so we have a little more empathy than the average person would. Our motto is, ‘We’ve been there. We can help.’”