Central Michigan District Health Department (CMDHD) recognized World Mental Health Day \u2014 which was Sunday, Oct. 10 \u2014 by encouraging individuals to perform mental health check-ins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of those living in the United States will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, and 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness each year. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people\u2019s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected. And services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted. CMDHD would like to highlight ways one could help protect his or her mental health. For starters though, what is mental health anyway? \u201cMental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood,\u201d according to www.mentalhealth.gov. We often show concern and care for others, reaching out to friends and family when they are struggling. What about looking within? It is just as important to check in with yourself and how you are doing psychologically, socially, and emotionally. Here are some tips to consider when doing a mental health check-in: 1. Think about your thinking. Are you stuck thinking only or mostly negative thoughts? Are you engaging in thinking that increases conflict instead of moving toward a solution, like blaming others or making things out to be worse than they are (i.e., catastrophizing)? Our thoughts affect our mood and in turn, our behaviors, so if the thinking is off, it could lead to bigger issues. 2. Listen to your body. Take care of your body. Our body is connected to our mind and stresses in one area affect the other. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you carrying tension in your neck or shoulders, grinding or clenching your teeth? Pay attention if your body is trying to tell you something. Are you getting enough nutritious foods in your diet? Movement and exercise are also an important part of managing stress, as well as in keeping the body healthy. Are you being as active and moving as much as you normally do? 3. Pay attention to your feelings and behaviors. Take stock of things that have changed. For example, if you are being less patient, more irritable, or short with people. Are you enjoying the things that you would normally find joy in? Do you socialize with others as often as you used to, even if the interactions may look different during the current times? It is also important to note that if you or a loved one ever has thoughts about wanting to hurt themself, the suicide prevention helpline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or you can text HOME to 741741. Central Michigan District Health Department serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola, and Roscommon. Visit its website at www.cmdhd.org, LIKE Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook and follow @CMiDHD on Twitter.