Oklahoma City Indian Clinic promotes National Minority Mental Health Month.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants to promote ways for American Indians to maintain mental health amid COVID-19 and other daily stressors.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed every July to bring awareness to the mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minority communities. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, those in racial and ethnic minorities report facing barriers when seeking treatment for mental health.
“American Indians have higher rates of depression and suicide compared to their white counterparts,” said Misty Gillespie, OKCIC’s Director of Behavioral Health. “Discrimination and difficulty accessing health care have contributed to this problem, but COVID-19 has been a recent factor in declining mental health.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of stress, fear and grief for many people since 2020. These feelings are natural, but you can learn to cope with them to improve your resilience and mental health. Stay informed, but take breaks from consuming news about the pandemic, including news on social media platforms. Remember to acknowledge and express your feelings of loss and grief, even the grief you feel over missed milestones, such as graduations or weddings.
“It’s important to acknowledge any grief you feel, whether it’s for a lost loved one or a missed opportunity,” Gillespie said. “Some people find comfort in journaling, but you can also talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling.”
Other ways to cope with daily stressors include:
- Scheduling time for activities you enjoy
- Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate
- Go to sleep at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning
- Limit alcohol and avoid smoking
- Get 20-30 minutes of physical activity each day
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may need support from a behavioral health professional. OKCIC patients can call (405) 948-4900 ext. 610 to schedule an appointment with our Behavioral Health department. If you’re in crisis, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 988.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a factor in declining mental health since 2020, but there are ways to cope with feelings of stress, fear and grief.
About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 21,000 patients from over 220 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.