ALTON – May has been celebrated as Mental Health Awareness Month nationwide for approximately 70 years, but at no time in recent memory has it seemed to be more top-of-mind. OSF Healthcare Saint Anthony’s Health Center is calling on the community to recognize the importance of the mind-body connection. Stressful emotions play a major role in triggering physical illness while exercise and self-care can have a significant impact on our mental health. Finding the right balance of exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress reduction helps to keep us both physically and mentally fit.

“Just as we visit the doctor for a regular physical checkup, it’s also important to check in on our mental health and emotional well-being,” said Susanne Ringhausen, LCPC, manager of OSF Psychological Services and Employee Assistance. “While one in five American adults are living with a diagnosed mental health condition, almost everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health in some way.

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is one of the most frequent health issues in the United States. Ringhausen stresses, that there is no reason for anyone to suffer in silence.

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Depression and anxiety are very common and extremely treatable conditions. According to Ringhausen, “the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on people of all ages, and now more than ever it is critical to reduce any stigma around mental health that sometimes prevents people from seeking help.”

During Mental Health Month, OSF Saint Anthony’s Psychological Services will be providing a number of services to the community. On May 18, OSF Saint Anthony’s will be hosting an educational webinar to members of the 1st MidAmerica Credit Union Platinum Club. The Psychological Services department will also be offering free screenings for depression and anxiety to the community. Screenings will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 19. These can take place either in person, or over the phone. Appointments are preferred but walk-ins will be accepted. Individuals must be 18 or older and will be screened privately with a licensed professional.

To schedule a confidential, no-cost screening for May 19, please call (618) 474-6240.

OSF Saint Anthony’s Psychological Services offers individual, family, and group counseling and has appointments available. For caring confidential assistance or more information, please call 618-474-6240.

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