Compass Health Network


May is Mental Health Awareness Month

During this Mental Health Awareness Month Compass Health Network and Mental Health America are here to provide education and awareness for those struggling with their mental health. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month is Where to Start, and we are here to show you things that may be affecting our mental health as a society and ways to help. Some of the key players that could be affecting our mental health may include the negative news cycle, current events, loneliness, technology, and social drivers. All of these are factors affecting us in this fast-paced media climate and luckily, we have tools and suggestions to help you face this storm.

So, you may be wondering how the negative news coverage impacts mental health. Watching upsetting news footage can start the body’s fight or flight response. This releases our adrenaline and puts our body in a similar state as if we were under threat. The news can cause an increase in depression and anxiety symptoms. These symptoms usually arise when we feel that we have no ability to improve the situations we learn about in the news. Lastly, relying on social media for your news can drive addictive behaviors. Over half of Americans receive their news via social media and with Clickbait headlines and social media algorithms that are designed to have users coming back for more, it is easy to get addicted.

We can protect our mental health from the negative news cycle in many ways. The first way is by identifying your triggers and understanding what may set you off. From there you can limit your consumption of media with triggering content. Another way to limit consumption is by trying to read news articles instead of watching videos. Overall, it would be smart to limit your time with the news in general. While it is beneficial to stay up to date with what’s going on, it is okay to limit your intake to only 30 minutes per day. Besides just limiting your news consumption, there are other ways to protect your mental health against the news cycle. This could be done by joining groups of people who share common identities or ideals. You can be mindful of your sources and understand where you are getting your news and their viewpoint. Lastly, we encourage you to enhance your optimism and do things in your life that bring you joy.

Besides the negative news cycle, we have also identified four things that are likely affecting your mental health and four things that you can do about it.

The four factors affecting us:

  • Current Events impact our thoughts, feelings, and outlooks at the world. And can lead us to worry more about things that are out of our control.
  • The rate of Loneliness is high in the United States and has been linked to developing anxiety and depression and has also been associated with psychosis and dementia.
  • Technology is also a large factor in doubt with our youth. Having all of the resources that we use at our fingertips can be great but overwhelming. This has led to our youth showing great concern for the future of our planet.
  • And lastly Social Drivers or social determinants. Research shows a strong connection between worry about money and mental distress and with the rise in inflation, this has only gotten worse.

But luckily, we have identified four factors that can help combat these stresses.

  • The first is finding your Support System and finding people or groups that share similar views or backgrounds.
  • Setting Limits on Technology and giving yourself healthy boundaries can be very beneficial for your mental health.
  • Understanding and Changing What You Can and being okay with not being able to change everything is the mindset you should have with the news.
  • And lasting, it is so important to find healthy Coping Skills. The way we suggest this is by finding a trained professional who can help you build your coping toolbox.

Click here to find your trained professional today and start building that toolbox.