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S24 Episode 02: Boosting Mental Wellness


Gina Sharp, President and CEO of Linden Oaks Behavior Health, comments on the mental health pandemic that has occurred with COVID-19 and gives tips for returning to work, coping with stress, connecting with nature and getting the rest we need.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quotes from the episode:

“COVID-19 brought about a physical illness for individuals but underlying that physical illness we’re seeing another pandemic occur within our country and that is a mental health pandemic… Pre-COVID, 25% of individuals were diagnosed with a mental illness. Post COVID, that rate has gone up to 40%.  We are seeing a surge in people suffering from anxiety or depression and we’re also seeing an increase in substance abuse as well. We’re really trying to identify how to help our community recover from the pandemic.

“There are many different ways that people can relieve their stress. Getting outside and being active is incredibly important. It can be as simple as a daily walk. I personally enjoy early morning walks and listening to the birds chirp outside. There are so many great trails to run or bike or walk along in Naperville…. It’s a way to help be in touch with nature.

“There’s also art, music, dance – they are great ways to relieve stress. I know that the Park District offers so many different options where people can find something new to do.  Creating art, whether it’s drawing, coloring, painting or pottery is relaxing and allows you to use your imagination and it provides a great sense of satisfaction to see your masterpiece. Sometimes we’re so busy in our day to day work that we don’t see where the end is on something. Being able to see a masterpiece at the end is fulfilling and feels good.” – Gina Sharp

Mental Health basics article from the Centers for Disease Control

Resources from Linden Oaks Behavior Health

  • If you or someone you know is in active crisis, you can call the Linden Oaks help line at 630-305-5027 or call 911.
  • You can also call the Linden Oaks help line to schedule an appointment for mental health assistance in a non-crisis situation.
  • Suggestions for transitioning from work to home at the end of a work shift: (Download the .pdf here.)


An infographic with suggestions for finding moments of rest and stress relief during your day:(Download the .pdf here.)


Naperville Park District provides year-round activities for the community. Visit Park It In Naperville page for the most recent seasonal ideas for fun and relaxation.

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