During COVID-19, mental health has become a major issue in society. The world is experiencing newly enforced laws such as curfews and mask requirements. Half of the world has also experienced the loss of their job, a loved one, and the experience of life itself. This is causing most people to convert their problems into stress. To help the Omicron Beta Sigma Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity partnered with The Bentley Wellness Association for a discussion on March 18.

It was a mental health forum hosted on Zoom by Fraternity Brother Eugene Bentley and Mrs. Robyn Bentley. Together they talked about how the negative effects of stress can be both physical and emotional health. In this discussion, two types of stress were discussed, external and internal stress. External stress is physical stress when you are gaining or losing weight, experience the loss of hair, and cause health problems like high blood pressure. Internal stress is mental stress caused by emotions, mood swings, anxiety, which can also lead to depression and unhealthy coping skills such as drugs and alcohol.

The Bentley Wellness Association also talks about things that cause stress such as school, work, relationships, the environment, and living situations just to name a few. Stress can be different for each person. Most people have problems concentrating while others have a challenging time making decisions or have a loss of memory. One major issue that people have is sleep deprivation. Most people either stay up all night or sleep all day, think about committing suicide, and experience hopelessness and guilt.

As the Bentleys state, there are some ways to prevent stress and keep your mind healthy. A way consists of staying in touch with friends. “Do not be afraid to check up on friends even when they say they are fine when you know they are not. Another is engaging in physical activity every day. Be active, keep your heart pumping, and your body moving,” recommended Bentley.

There is also the tactic of saying “No” to new responsibilities when your plate is full. It is ok to say “no” when you have overbooked yourself. You have too much going on just stop and take a break. There is getting enough sleep since the body needs its rest. Finally, seeking help from a mental health specialist is very important when stress becomes overwhelming. There is an unlimited number of ways to alleviate stress. When it comes to these ways Mrs. Bentley says “…a person needs Vitamin D, a healthy snack and to just breathe. Practicing on your breathing is very important.”

Mr. Bentley chimed in by saying to “Create a to-do list, take breaks, take time off, and just relax if it becomes too much.” Similarly, another call speaker, Yovonda Hill suggests, “Try to figure out your why. What’s the reason you feel the need to do so much?”

After much discussion, the event soon ended. If you or a friend or even someone you know suffer from a mental health issue such as stress, depression, anxiety, or even suicidal issues do not be afraid to ask for help.

Know that there are organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)), the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline (1-800-950-NAMI (6264)). For more information, you can find The Bentley Wellness Association on Facebook and Instagram at @Bentleywellnessassociates. Or they can contact them by phone at 225-960-5111 or by email at bentleywellnssassociates@gmail.com.

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