October 10 is Mental Health Awareness Day

The World Health Organization recognizes October 10th as "Mental Health Awareness Day." The organization says the day serves to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

Dr. Joanne Sotelo, a psychiatrist with Baylor Scott and White, says mental health, especially now, is an important conversation.

"It is the base of our overall health," she said.

Sotelo said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have started talking about mental and emotional health. "I call it one of the "COVID gifts’ is that people are more willing talk about it," she said.

Sotelo said sometimes that there can be a negative connotation with talking about mental health, but adds that by talking about it more, it can help erase that stigma.

She said mental health is just as important as physical health and should be talked about and by creating a safe place with friends and family, you can have those conversations.

"Being like "hey how's your mood today, and why? What can we do to make it better?," she said. "It's opening that space of trust where we can talk about these things with no judgment."

If you, or someone you know is struggling with mental health, the Austin-Travis County crisis hotline can be reached at 512-472-4357.

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