Although Minority Mental Health Month was observed in July, it continues to always be a message to speak on the struggles that our communities of color are facing in regards to how poor mental health and tobacco use are an overlooked, yet ever important issue.
I wanted to share some information that may be helpful to those in our communities of color who may be using or looking to use tobacco during these understandably stressful times. With the stress of the pandemic, social issues and the things we encounter every day in our lives it is key to find ways to positively affect our mental health. A life-saving strategy people can make any time of the year is to stay quit on using tobacco. Disparities on both mental health care and tobacco use are present in our communities of color. There are several ways to boost your mental health and stay quit from tobacco during times of crisis.
Reach out to family and friends for support. Any change is difficult to go at alone, and having a support system ensures you’ll have a shoulder to lean on during the particularly tough times. One way to involve friends and family is to have a quit buddy who begins a quit attempt at the same time and you can talk to about the quitting process.
Identify your triggers and how to overcome them during these stressful times. Our minds are overloaded with information and stimulus over the course of the day. People, places, events or things around us may make you want to smoke or use tobacco. These triggers can make staying quit difficult, but identifying and learning how to deal with them is key to bettering your mental health and staying quit from tobacco.
Remember to celebrate often. Did you make it through a stressful day or event? Be sure to take time to congratulate yourself and recognize your accomplishments. Experts say that doing so will improve your mental health and lead to less cravings for substance use like tobacco.
The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is a free resource available to all Hoosiers to quit all forms of tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Right now, the Quiltine is offering two weeks of nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches, gum or lozenges to all who enroll. For more information or to get started, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.quitnowindiana.com.
The Minority Health Coalition of Marion County is a membership based organization committed to fighting minority health disparities in Marion County through education and prevention services based on health conditions that primarily affect minorities.