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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mental health can be a focus for new year's resolutions, and as 2021 comes to a close, it may be even more so.

The past year has taken a toll on the city of Louisville, both mentally and physically, as it nears a record 200 homicides. That combined with the isolation and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 as the omicron variant causes a rise in cases, stress levels are up and the spotlight is on mental health.

Dr. Monalisa Tailor, with Norton Community Medical Associates, said focusing on mental health is more important than ever.

For 2021, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office reported 211 homicides — both criminal and non-criminal — 150 suicides and 508 overdoses with 85 additional cases pending in Jefferson County. Overdoses were down by about 100 and there were nine fewer suicides in 2021 compared to 2020. 

"It feels really heavy this year," said Tailor. "We have had a lot of trauma that we are all dealing with and that's made this year, particularly these holidays, really difficult."

She said attaching that goal to your new year's resolution list wouldn't be a bad idea.

"Try and find those things that you enjoy, and I know a lot of us tend to fall into particular patterns whether it's stress eating, stress smoking, stress drinking and trying to get ourselves out of those patterns can be helpful and maybe creating one type of intention for your day may help you towards your goal," she said.

Instead of making sweeping resolutions for the new year, Tailor recommends setting more realistic goals.

Of the near 200 homicides this year, 16-year-old Nylah Linear is among them. She was shot and killed near Cecil Avenue in July.

"I'm still in denial,” her mother, Candy Linear, said. “There are some days I wake up and I really feel like it didn't happen."

Linear said she is bracing herself for the next year with her mental health in mind.

"I go to therapy, and it helps me when I help other people," she said.

Anthony Oxendine, the director of the Spring Valley Funeral Home, said a partnership bloomed after Nylah Linear’s funeral. They started the Nylah Linear Foundation for grieving mothers.

"She comes into the funeral when a family has lost a child due to homicide and they are able to connect. Not only connect by hand, but by heart," said Oxendine.

Oxendine said he sees mothers laying their child to rest all too often.

"Out of 188 homicides, Spring Valley has done approximately a hundred of those services," he said.

Though it hasn't been easy for many families in Louisville dealing with a loss this year, Tailor said the best advice to offer is to prioritize mental health and well-being.

"It’s so that we can be the best version of ourselves as we're helping our family, our children and all those loved ones around us," she said.

Tailor is also recommending getting tested for COVID-19 before attending any New Year's Eve celebrations on Friday, or making an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot in early 2022.

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