May is Mental Health Awareness Month – a good reminder to take some time to check in with your loved ones – and yourself – and reach out for help if you need it. Our lives have been consumed by the coronavirus pandemic for over a year, and the stresses related to the pandemic have certainly impacted mental health across the country. While we continue to fight COVID-19, issues like the increasing need for mental health support shouldn’t be overlooked.

Mental health and substance misuse are often closely related, particularly as people try to cope with difficult times. Fortunately, local organizations in Maine have been continuing efforts to provide critical information and resources. For example, the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of Maine is a coalition of groups committed to sharing information about prevention and pointing people toward local resources for education, mental health and addiction treatment. RALI has tips online about how to safely store and dispose of prescription medications to prevent misuse from occurring and provides an interactive virtual tour about the hidden warning signs of substance use disorder in the home.

Visit rali-me.org to learn more about RALI and their partners’ efforts across Maine. It is crucial that we continue to pay attention to the mental health needs of our community and know that there are organizations nearby to help us through.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s work together to learn about the issues we face, share knowledge about available resources and end the stigma of asking for help.

C. Shawn Yardley
CEO, Community Concepts, Inc.
Lewiston

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