SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and health care officials in Shreveport want to destigmatize getting help and have open-dialog conversations about the struggles people may face.
As the world tries to recover to some sense of normalcy following the worldwide pandemic, Dr. Michelle Yetman with LSU Health Shreveport says mental health is more important now than ever before.
“After coming off the tail-end of this pandemic, it is really important to talk about Mental Health Awareness,” said Dr. Michelle Yetman.
Dr. Yetman has worked at the institution for the past 10 years and says the stigma behind mental health prevents some people from receiving help.
“1 in 4 Americans at some point are going to experience some type of mental health illness; depression and anxiety being the most common, so there should be no shame.”
Yetman says the pandemic has created two issues: the mental health pandemic and the drug and alcohol one.
“This is very hard for so many people. Our normal way of life as we have known it is completely disrupted,” said Dr. Michelle Yetman.
Seeking help from primary care physicians is one way to help someone with the illness. But also listening.
“Most people just want to be heard and even if it hasn’t been your own direct experience…just try to listen and say ‘You know I’m here for you if you need anything.”
The signs are a change in behavior whether that is eating habits sleep and overall how one deals with stress, according to Dr. Yetman.
As vaccines are being administered she says people should seek mental health guidance as well. Just as they would if something was physically wrong with their body.
“It’s getting better but that doesn’t mean that the mental health component is instantly resolved with the vaccine.