Mental Health Facts & Links

Mental health problems are very common. Did you know?

One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue.

One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression.

One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

October is National Depression Awareness Month!

Despite how it might feel to those experiencing it, there’s no shame in suffering from depression. It is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that in 2018, more than 16 million adults dealt with a depressive episode. Battling the symptoms of depression is, no doubt, difficult, but it’s important that people understand they’re not alone.

October is Depression Awareness Month

One effective method of helping people cope with these issues to educate, elevate and participate in Depression Awareness Month, throughout all of October.

“This is what depression does: it lies to you,” writes a New York Times contributor Jennifer Finney Boylan. “At this point in my life, I’m stronger than it is. But if I were younger – or my voice were louder – things might be different.”

What are Factors or Causes of Depression?

Researchers have so far been unable to pinpoint exactly why some people deal with more intense levels of depression than others do. They do believe there are some key factors, though, and these can include some of the following:

  • Intense stress, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce and even traumatic events such as injury from a car crash or returning from a war zone, can cause a person to develop serious depression
  • Family history is another key factor. Children of parents with depression tend to struggle in a number of ways and are more likely to deal with depression later in their lives
  • Neurological makeup is yet another reason some people are more likely to experience depression than others. There’s evidence that the brains of people living with depression function differently than those without the disorder

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Regardless of the cause, living with depression is incredibly difficult and painful. For many people, the disorder becomes a destructive mental and physical cycle. The symptoms of depression can include:

  • Excessive feelings of worthlessness and guilt, sadness and hopelessness
  • The loss of interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyed
  • Difficulty making even simple decisions
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Fatigue and excessive sleeping
  • Weight loss and weight gain
  • Suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt

Depression also increases a person’s risk of a dual diagnosis, sometimes called co-occurring disorders, which is mental illness coupled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It’s entirely understandable why a person suffering from untreated or undiagnosed depression would turn to intoxicative substances. It’s not a weakness.

In fact, it’s a subconscious awareness that the body and mind need to be medicated, though alcohol and drug abuse will only worsen the symptoms of depression.

At-home screenings/assessments

The following at-home screening tools are provided for your convenience. Please keep in mind that these tools are not to be used as a diagnostic instrument. Diagnosis of mental health disorders can only be determined through a clinical assessment performed by a licensed mental health professional.  Please contact our office at (307) 358-2846 to schedule an appointment.

Depression screening

https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/depression

https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/screenings/screening-depression

Anxiety screening

https://adaa.org/screening-generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad

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Pandemics can be stressful

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
 
 
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Take care of your mental health

You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Get immediate help in a crisis

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations

How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

Take care of yourself and your community

Taking care of your friends and your family can be a stress reliever, but it should be balanced with care for yourself. Helping others cope with their stress, such as by providing social support, can also make your community stronger. During times of increased social distancing, people can still maintain social connections and care for their mental health. Phone calls or video chats can help you and your loved ones feel socially connected, less lonely, or isolated.

Healthy ways to cope with stress

  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

 

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Program offers hope for people with schizophrenia

A statewide program that starts treating young people with schizophrenia and related disorders less than two years after symptoms begin is helping participants stay or transition into the workplace and college, data show.

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Depression, Anxiety, & Coping with Reduced Energy and Endurance Frustration!

I want to do more in my life but can’t. It’s a burden I feel in maintaining my state of recovery from major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder…unless I fall back into being on an ugly treadmill. That would mean doing endless tasks mindlessly and suppressing my emotions instead of recognizing, managing, and benefiting from feeling them. It would mean just “gritting and bearing it.” I lived in that unhealthy pattern for too many years and I don’t want to slide back.

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For patients with schizophrenia, some drug combinations may be more effective than others

Patients with schizophrenia are often treated with more than one type of psychiatric medication, but a new study suggests that some combinations may be more effective than others. The findings were published in JAMA Psychiatry

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