WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A return to normal is what so many of us have craved since pandemic restrictions began last year, but the mental adjustment to returning to normal is easier said than done for so many of us.

A recent poll finds nearly half of Americans feel uneasy about adjusting to post pandemic, in-person interaction. But thanks to something called “Tools 2 Thrive” the adjustment may be easier.

There is no denying that the pandemic has taken a toll on our collective mental health.

For the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health America is touting a toolkit launched during the pandemic called “Tools 2 Thrive”. Its focus has shifted since launching in 2020.

“Last year, it was how to deal with things like loneliness and isolation. This year, it’s how to deal with going back into the world and all of what that means.” said Paul Gionfrido, president and CEO of Mental Health America.

According to an American Psychological Association poll, 46% of Americans say they do not feel comfortable returning to life as they knew it before the pandemic, after enduring deep trauma from having our normals turned upside down.

“Accepting the reality that we have right now in the aftermath of this pandemic, gives us the opportunity to move forward. If we don’t accept it, a lot of people can get trapped in their thinking, get trapped in their emotions and really lose an opportunity to once again live and once again thrive,” stated Gionfrido.

The Tools 2 Thrive toolkit includes tips for adapting after trauma and stress, strategies for processing big changes, and suggestions for ways to take time for yourself. It also includes free, anonymous mental health screening tools to assess a variety of mental health issues.

“So, is this worry/anxiety? Is this low feeling/depression? And then once you know, once you have the yes or no, you can then take advantage of the tools that are right for you to help you move quickly to a pathway to recovery,” said Gionfrido.

Gionfriddo recommends keeping your eyes wide open to see if loved ones are really struggling to return to work and school, and social settings.

“These are the kinds of things that while they’re still more or less internal, they’re the kinds of things to be looking for and say maybe this is more than just they typical anxiety somebody might be feeling going back out into public again. Maybe it’s useful to learn more about that and get some help from other people,” stated Gionfrido.

Mental health America’s Tools 2 Thrive is completely free and internet friendly. You can head to Mental Health America.org to check for other helpful resources for your mental well-being