May is Mental Health Month, and your Rapides Parish Library is highlighting what individuals can do to prioritize their mental health.

Most of us were shocked by the disruption in our lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be anxious about getting sick, passing the virus on to others, adjusting to a new reality, taking care of your family, your loved ones’ health, financial burdens, or not being able to connect socially.

While many aspects of the pandemic are outside of our control, experts state that comfort may be found in focusing on things that you control such as your mind and body, your immediate environment, and what you consume in terms of news and media.

Being worried during this time of uncertainty is normal. However, excessive worry or anxiety can be detrimental to your well-being. Some symptoms of anxiety include uncontrollable worry, stomach and digestion problems, trouble with concentration and memory, increased heart rate, changes in energy, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and restlessness. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms during social distancing and quarantine, some steps suggested by mental health professionals include calling a friend, exercising at home, using mindfulness or meditation apps, creating a new routine, taking ten deep breaths when you feel stressed, or using online support groups and the Crisis Text Line (Text MHA to 741741). Enjoying a calming hobby or book can also be helpful.

If you need additional help, you can visit virtual support such as to check your symptoms. The service is free, privateTH and anonymous. After taking the screening, Mental Health America will provide you with information and resources to help you feel better. Crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

This month, your library encourages you to explore topics that can help you build your own set of #Tools2Thrive – recognizing and owning your feelings; finding the positive after loss; connecting with others; eliminating toxic influences; creating healthy routines; and supporting others. Visit to start building your skill set and being a healthier, happier you.

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