Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day and a local director of outpatient mental health services reacted to the conversation surrounding the stigma of mental health.

The World Health Organization is acknowledging World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world.

One local counselor said having good mental health is imperative because it’s how people have a sense of belonging and connect with other people and that there are various factors that can affect a person’s mental health.

“Being stressed, overworked, or overwhelmed just in general in life, having too much on your plate and not giving yourself enough downtime or breaks,” said Michelle Wick, licensed professional counselor at Allegheny Health Network Behavioral Health.

Wick added that because mental and physical health go hand in hand, there are many resources available to promote full-body wellness.

“Just ensuring that you’re getting movement, that you’re taking breaks, that you’re having a good sleep schedule and eating nutritious. Also just knowing when it’s time to relax and that can look different for different people,” she went on to say.

Wick also said people need to be aware of when to reach out for help if they cannot cope effectively with their current situation.

“There are many things available to people just in this area in general. You can do therapy, phone call, video, or in-person. There are group therapy options, there are many different agencies just within this county,” Wick continued.

A local director of outpatient mental health services said conversations surrounding mental health have a long way to go in order to reduce the stigma of seeking help.

“I think that there still is a lot of mental health in the shadows and people don’t feel comfortable talking about it. I do think we do need to talk about it more openly and have a lot more people come forward with, ‘Yeah you know I’ve had trouble too or everything’s not peachy for all of us,'” said Dr. Lisa May, director of outpatient mental health services at UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor.

May added discussing feelings needs to be more common and until it is there will be people who struggle with talking about their feelings.