(WBNG) — As the past year has taken a toll on many people’s mental health, Southern Tier experts are emphasizing the need to take it seriously.
Mental health has been increasingly in the news this week because of the revelation Meghan Markle struggled with suicidal ideation. Experts say it’s good when popular figures like Markle open up about their struggles as it encourages others to do so as well.
Despite the progress made over the past few years, experts say mental health issues are still stigmatized.
“Understand that it’s not a shameful condition or a shameful experience; you should not feel guilty about it,” said Dr. Dawn Gonsalves, a behavioral health director with MVP Healthcare. “They should reach out to their loved ones, reach out to their physicians, whether it be their primary care physician or if they have a behavioral health specialist, they should feel comfortable to reach out.”
Experts say a major sign to watch out for is a drastic change in behavior such as using substances when someone hadn’t before, sleeping abnormally long, or saying goodbye to family and friends.