Screen for Depression Regularly

Depression – we have all heard the word many times. In the past three years, we have all felt sadness. Feeling sad, unmotivated, or hopeless is common in daily life.  But what is the difference between sadness and depression? Feeling sad does not last as long as depression. In depression, you might also experience things like not feeling hungry or feeling hungrier than usual. You may also be sleeping a lot or not enough, and feeling hopeless. Hopelessness feels like the things that you used to enjoy are no longer fun. These feelings are different from normal sadness when they last for long periods of time – from a couple of weeks to many months.  It is important to screen for depression regularly. You can ask your doctor about depression during regular care appointments, sick appointments, after scary experiences, or after childbirth. These are not the only times to screen for depression, though. You should always let your doctor know if you begin to feel the symptoms of depression. It is important to check in with your doctor or someone you trust about these feelings to prevent yourself from experiencing a more serious form of depression. Serious symptoms of depression can lead to fatal outcomes, such as suicide.  Depression screenings ask a lot of questions. You can expect to be [...]

2022-09-28T18:06:39-04:00October 1st, 2022|Depression, Suicide Prevention|

No Feeling Is Final

Imagine you are at your doctor’s office. The nurse takes you back to see the doctor – what do they do next?  “Let me get your temperature, blood pressure, check your height and weight.” A process we are all used to: checking vital signs  Imagine you’re a client of mine now (I’m a psychotherapist, or simply, a therapist). You come into my office. I’ll check your mental health vital signs: How are you sleeping? How's your appetite? Your mood? Are you having fun? Are you hanging out with people?  So far, pretty straightforward, right? Next question might get people nervous: Have you had thoughts of wanting to be dead or harming yourself? Why am I having suicidal thoughts? Suicidal thoughts happen for a lot of different reasons. Maybe it's stress that feels neverending. We may feel like a burden to someone or not fit in anywhere. For BIPOC (black/indigineous/people of color) folks, racism can cause suicidal thoughts. Whatever the reason, please know that help is available. How can I take care of myself? First, tell someone about your stressors! The right people can be just what we need. If you don’t have a trusted person in your corner, call 9-8-8, the new crisis support number. Keep doing the basics: Get enough sleep, eat all your meals, keep up with your [...]

2022-08-22T20:45:40-04:00September 12th, 2022|Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Stress, Suicide Prevention|

Boost Your Mental Health with Exercise

Mental Health Awareness Month offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on and reprioritize our mental health and wellness. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking time for reflection is important; knowing what drains our energy and what gives us energy strengthens our ability to honor and take care of ourselves. I want to highlight one tool within our mental health and wellness toolbox:  Exercise.   Exercise is an excellent tool for relieving stress, increasing energy, and promoting positive wellbeing. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. However, you do not need to push through a session at the gym to receive the perks associated with regular physical activity. Walks around your neighborhood, opting to take stairs, and even doing squats while your brush your teeth can all provide benefits. Studies show that regardless of age or fitness level, exercise can provide some mental health benefits, such as: Promoting happiness  Exercise releases endorphins, creating feelings of happiness and euphoria. Research has shown that, in some cases, exercise works as well as medication in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression – and the effects can be long-lasting. One vigorous exercise session can alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.  Preventing cognitive decline The brain [...]

2022-04-29T09:56:39-04:00May 1st, 2022|Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health|

NDSD: A Yearly Event with a Daily Calling

Imagine a world where we can “call in sick” because our depression is worsening or because anxiety is peaking to a point of emotional and physical paralysis. A world where we can fearlessly acknowledge our mental health challenges and receive support rather than skepticism or judgment. In our society, we are afforded sick days to treat varying physical health conditions, but it is “invisible” pains that create hesitance. Mental health stigma promotes a falsehood that proof is needed to justify anguish. This year more than ever is important for centering our mental health needs. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly eight in 10 adults identified the coronavirus pandemic as a significant source of stress in their lives. Locally, we witness the daily weight of gun violence, poverty, systemic racism, and trauma. However, we can all contribute towards promoting mental wellness in big and small ways. Each year, National Depression Screening Day provides an opportunity to break stigma and recognize mental wellness matters. Behavioral health partners offer multiple sites to receive free behavioral screenings along with valuable resources and the support of trained professionals. We can use Oct. 7 as an opportunity to take a behavioral health screening, reach out to loved ones, or normalize mental health challenges, whether someone else’s or, most importantly, our own. Although this reflection [...]

2021-10-14T13:18:43-04:00October 7th, 2021|Awareness, Depression|
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