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Before the pandemic, in any given year, 1 in 5 people in the U.S. reported having a mental health condition. Currently, mental health experts suggest the figure is 2 in 5, or even higher. This May, for Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties, the local affiliate of the of NAMI-MD, is raising awareness of mental health conditions and highlighting available resources.

It’s been more than a year since the pandemic upended our everyday lives with feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and depression. The burden of living through a pandemic continues to impact our personal and professional relationships in unprecedented ways. We’ve all been impacted one way or another due to the stress and hardship we’ve endured as a country. NAMI KQA wants anyone who might have concerns for themselves or a loved one to know that they are not alone.

The NAMI You Are Not Alone campaign focuses on connecting people to resources or free online support groups, so no one struggles through this difficult time alone. The campaign builds connections and increases awareness through digital tools, such as our social media platforms and the NAMI COVID-19 Information and Resource Guide. Collectively, we can help each other start to heal and find a path to recovery. Together, we can realize our shared vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental health conditions can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives – a nation where no one feels alone in their struggle.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we endeavor to turn the tragic and life-changing impact of COVID-19 into a spotlight on the growing need for systematic improvements in our mental health care system, in order to meet the increased need as we return to some sense of a new normal as the world opens back up again. We will all be facing and adapting to this change together as a society.

Especially during times of uncertainty, the NAMI community is here to help you. NAMI KQA invites all members of the public to contact us at namikentandqueenannes@gmail.com. And please visit our table in the Chestertown Farmers’ Market on May 15 and May 29. Our local Help Line is 443-480-0565 – call for information and assistance. If no answer, leave a voicemail during regular business hours and we will respond no later than the next day. You can also call the NAMI MD Help Line at 410-884-8691.