EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — For two years now, the world has been dealing with more than a pandemic threatening the well-being of individuals. The COVID crisis also put us in the grips of a global mental health crisis.

According to the world health organization, the first year of the pandemic triggered a 25 percent increase in anxiety and depression. A non-profit dedicated to improving mental health offers an online self-assessment to help gauge your mental health and ways to improve it.

It’s called “Back to Basics,” a mental health toolkit from the non-profit Mental Health America. To hear Jillian Hughes, the organization’s Executive Vice President of Communications, speak about it, there is a serious need for “Back to Basics.” 5.4 million people took a self-screening in 2021, up from 2.9 million the previous year.

“Throughout the pandemic that’s, you know, 8 million folks coming to take a screening and those are not all folks that have a diagnosed mental illness. In fact, the majority of them are people who hadn’t experienced treatment before,” says Hughes.

The goal of “Back to Basics” is really three-fold. First, it helps individuals do a virtual “checkup from the neck up” and identify signs that they may be struggling.

“How serious is the condition that I’m experiencing and do I need to talk to someone about it, do I need to take the results of my screening and talk about them with my doctor or a trusted adult or, you know, even just a friend,” Hughes said.

Secondly, the virtual toolkit offers ways individuals can support their mental health through measures that can help prevent a mental crisis.

“Diet, exercise, sleeping well, things that will be good for both physical and mental health,” Hughes says.

Lastly, it also outlines what resources are available to help you find the right treatment options.

“We really want people to feel empowered to check on their own mental health but then also be able to do something about it if they feel they want to begin treatment or they want to go to a support group or they want to find someone in the community that’s a peer, that they can talk to about what’s going on,” said Hughes.

The biggest demographic of people using Back to Basics are 11 to 17-year-olds. But keep in mind, we’ve all experienced a really difficult two years, so a self-checkup like this can only help.