Mental Health

If you or a loved one are having emotional distress or thoughts of suicide, call 988 to connect with a lifeline specialist for support.

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Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Our mental state affects how we think, feel, and act; it affects how we handle stress, how we interact with and treat others, and how we make decisions. It can put financial and emotional strain on families. It can lead to substance abuse. It can affect educational and professional success.

Those who are dealing with mental illness tend to isolate themselves by closing off connections with others. Support is important for positive mental health, and the quality of those supportive relationships is more important than the quantity of them.

People experience a range of emotions which require acceptance and patience. Often people will shut off or ignore certain feelings, which can lead to further mental stress.

Many factors can contribute to mental illness:

• Discrimination – being treated unfairly due to personal characteristics such as age, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity

• Trauma

• Family history of mental illness

• Low income

• Medical illness

• Poor access to health services

• Social inequalities

• Substance use

Improved mental health is linked with better physical health; poor mental health is linked with physical illness. Mental illness can reduce life expectancy. If a person is suffering from mental illness, and in that has difficulty concentrating at work and reduced productivity, increased tardiness, or is absent from work, they might lose their job and subsequently their health insurance and their access to health care, which could lead to untreated health conditions and the inability to receive preventative care.

– Resources – 

ServiceNet – A network of mental health and human services for individuals and families throughout Western Massachusetts.

Psychology Today – Search for a therapist with the ability to filter results by, for instance, insurance accepted. 

Valley Medical Group – Provides a full range of outpatient treatment for patients of all ages with all mental health concerns. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Massachusetts – Resources including peer and family support, search functions for finding providers and programs, options for obtaining and understanding health insurance, and much more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Free and confidential resources to help make connections with mental health professionals (phone numbers included for a variety of circumstances).

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (Mass DMH) – Provides access to services.

Community Responders for Equity, Safety & Service (CRESS) – A department of the Town of Amherst that is devoted to providing preventative community services in situations that don’t involve violence or serious crime. CRESS works to help community members before issues progress to involving police enforcement. 

Covid-19 has affected everyone. Many have become more anxious, and many have developed serious mental health problems including distress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are struggling with a financial burden due to Covid-19, you may qualify for residence assistance through Family Outreach of Amherst.