The New Mexico Department of Health has released advice about mental health struggles that residents may encounter during the holidays.
“Holidays are stressful for almost all of us, so it’s important for us to acknowledge how we feel and get the help we need, before the additional stress creates further mental or medical suffering,” Acting Department of Health Cabinet Secretary David R. Scrase M.D. said.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, one in five adults report mental illness every year. Additionally, one in six minors experience mental illness every year.
The leading cause is stress though, according to the association.
The Department of Health says when people are stressed, they know it.
Among symptoms listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are tension, irritability, fear, anxiety, anger, nightmares, crying, headaches, body aches and more.
Holiday Stress is reported more often by women because women tend to take on the greater burden of holiday tasks.
Scrase stressed that if people need help they have it.
“There are lots of great, simple ways to reduce stress this time of year,” he said.
The New Mexico Department of Health offers the following tips for improving mental health this holiday season:
- Acknowledge your feelings. It is okay to feel stressed but keeping it inside often leads to more stress.
- Find support. When stressed, it is important to have an outlet for your feelings whether that be a partner, friend, neighbor, or faith member.
- Stick to an exercise routine. The holidays are busy, but it is still important to follow a schedule and exercise is a great stress-reliever.
- Set a budget and stick to it. If you can’t afford gifts for everyone, find other ways to give such as baking or giving your time.
- Avoid drugs or alcohol. Many times, this will only add stress to your holidays. And if you are drinking alcohol this holiday season, make sure you have a designated driver.
- Give back to your community. Volunteering in our local communities can reduce stress and make great connections.
There are also several hotlines available in New Mexico that people can use in a dire situation.
Here are the local numbers:
The suicide hotline for NM is 988
The non-emergency number is 1-800-662-7474