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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, experts urge people to take care of their mental health

Experts said it is more important than ever for people to take care of their own mental health.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Around one in five people will experience a mental health issue throughout their lives, according to experts from the McNabb Center.

May is meant to be a month where people get the help they need to address those issues — Mental Health Awareness Month. Although experts said people should take time to care for themselves throughout the year, May is meant to be a time to intentionally talk about the importance of addressing mental health issues.

“The past year has greatly impacted mental health within our communities,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center CEO. “We need to continue working to reduce stigma associated with mental illness.”

Officials said that the McNabb Center has seen an increase in the number of people experiencing mental health issues over the past year, such as anxiety and depression.

They recommended people take time for self-care to help improve their mental health. They can try mindfulness and meditation exercises, writing in a journal, exercising or simply taking time for themselves each day.

The McNabb Center also wanted to remind people that community mental health centers are here for them and can provide professional help for a variety of concerns. Anyone who needs help can call the center at 1-800-255-9711.

"Going back out into a grocery store is going to cause a significant amount of anxiety," experts said. "And having someone to talk to and talk through those things and realizing they are not the only ones going through those things is really important."

They also urged people to reach out to others who may be struggling, to help them get the resources they need.