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  • Mental health awareness resources available for Arizona residents during COVID-19

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    May 21, 2020

    May is national Mental Health Awareness Month and experts share tips and resources to support mental health and increase resiliency

    TUCSON, Ariz. (May 21, 2020) – According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 50 million adults in the United States face the reality of managing a mental illness every day. While one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

    A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of U.S. adults are reporting negative mental health conditions as a result of COVID-19.

    “With COVID-19 and the need to shelter in place, maintaining and supporting mental health can be a challenge when social connections are difficult to maintain,” said Gustavo Perez, PhD, lead psychologist with EPICenter at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

    The EPICenter is part of the Banner - University Medicine Whole Health Clinic. The Whole Health Clinic provides a wide range of comprehensive and integrated services to address the whole-health needs of individuals with mental illness.

    Dr. Perez explains that “human beings are social by nature. It has been demonstrated that the best protector for physical and emotional well-being is a sense of kinship with others.”

    When factoring social stressors like racism, marginalization, or LGBTQ discrimination, individuals can experience acute isolation, distress and suicidal ideation.

    “Maintaining a sense of meaning and purpose in life is also a core component of well-being,” said Dr. Perez. “Many people fulfill this need through work accomplishment and the ability to provide for their families. The rise of massive unemployment due to COVID-19 threatens this sense of satisfaction with life. Limited options for employment can increase a sense of hopelessness and negatively impact physical, mental and emotional health.”

    Dr. Perez adds that “countless social investigations have demonstrated that connection to others has a positive impact in physical, emotional and cognitive health and reduces the risk for suicide in a community. We can be present with others in many ways, depending in each person’s context: offering to buy groceries for an elderly neighbor, calling a distant friend, playing a board game with your children, or simply giving our full compassionate attention to somebody after we ask ‘how are you doing’?”

    “In adverse times, kindship with others can save lives,” said Dr. Perez.

    Immediate resources available for Pima and Maricopa County residents include:

    • For immediate healthcare attention, call 911
    • If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call 520-622-6000 or 1-866-495-6735 (TDD/TTY: 1-877-613-2076)
    • Walk-in crisis services are available at any Banner Health hospital emergency department or at

    ·        Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, 7575 E Earll Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    ·        Banner - University Medical Center South Crisis Response Center, 2802 E. District St. Tucson, AZ 85714

     

    Other available online resources include:

    Emotions Anonymous offering weekly online meetings.

     

    About Banner Health 

    As one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, the team at Banner Health is committed to ensuring all Banner locations are a safe place for care. Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals and an array of other services, including: Banner Imaging, Banner Telehealth and Banner Urgent Care. Team members are dedicated to protecting the health and safety of patients, be it a routine checkup, elective surgery or an urgent health service. Waiting room and employee workstation layouts maintain proper social distancing; screenings are conducted at hospital entrances to verify that all employees and visitors are well; and, all Banner physicians are equipped to visit patients remotely. Learn more about Banner's commitment to safety at bannerhealth.com/safecare.