It would be impossible to enter into Mental Health Awareness Month without focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on mental health. Prior to COVID-19, few issues affected our community quite like mental health. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

The long term psychological and communitywide impacts of COVID-19 are unknown but expected to be enduring. A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, published on April 2, shows the psychological toll the pandemic is taking on many Americans. According to the survey, 45 percent of adults (53% of the group being women and 37% of men) say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19 percent say it has had a “major impact.”

It’s difficult to know where to begin to address the extraordinary stress, anxiety, and trauma that individuals and communities are currently facing and will continue experiencing. What we do know, is that now more than ever, it’s essential to look after our mental health, both for our own benefit and for those around us. Fortunately, for our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc., McHenry County is home to a foundational and stabilizing institution such as the McHenry County Mental Health Board (MCMHB) and a wealth of mental health service providers, advocates, and resources supporting continuous access to these essential services.

On behalf of McHenry County residents, the MCMHB promotes strong relationships with individuals in recovery, their families, healthcare providers, local county systems such as education, criminal justice, health and human services, businesses, faith-based organizations, and community members alike to foster a resilient and recovery ready community.

As our entire community works hard to mitigate all health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond, please stay informed, engaged, and active as we all play a role in empowering minds and transforming lives.

Stay safe, and stay connected. We Are All in This Together. To access mental health services, residents are encouraged to call their existing service providers or utilize the McHenry County Crisis Line at 800-892-8900, 2-1-1, or the MCHELP Mobile App for information and referral.