BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) – While fear of being infected by the coronavirus spreads through Central Illinois, medical professionals say people shouldn’t just be on guard for physical symptoms, they should also be protecting their mental health.

On Thursday, dozens of Twin Cities community members gathered at Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington to learn about the impacts mental health issues can have on your life.

“It’s very important for us to be out in the community educating people on these certain systems,” said Brent Cummins, Director of Adult Addiction Treatment at Chestnut.  “As well as, what resources are available such as what we have at Chestnut.”

The session taught people, while it is true you should be strong, don’t view asking for help as a sign of weakness.

“Stigma is a big thing with mental heath,” said Cummins. “We need to be open to having those conversations, as well as, listening to what the data is showing us. The data showing that there are concerns, we need to make sure people are aware of.”

COVID-19 has scared many people in the Central Illinois, as they fear themselves or their loved ones may get infected.  However, as Carrie Hilling, Behavioral Health Clinical Director at Chestnut explains, it’s times like these where you should be most confident.

“Anytime there is uneasiness in the community, that tends to affect our well being,” said Hilling. “There is always something going on that we are struggling with as humans. I think this (good mental health practices) is all the time, I don’t feel as if, just right now we need it more. I think we always need that avenue of talking and self care.”

Hilling says maintaining good mental health can positively affect the ones around you, helping ensure they too are confident, as we all go through this difficult time.

“You have to take care of yourself,” said Cummins. “Especially when you’re looking at the situation of the coronavirus where our community is at risk, our loved ones are at risk. In order to take care of them you have to care of yourself.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, visit this website, or call (888) 924-3786.