Mental health issues have long been misunderstood. Thirty years ago, even doctors might have told a depressed person to “snap” out of it. We’ve come a long way since then. Today we understand the disorder much better.
Depression seldom resolves itself. It is hardly ever possible for people to “snap” out of it without support. The form that support takes depends on what caused the depressive episode in the first place.
Our Understanding of Depression is Evolving
As we keep learning more about depression, it becomes apparent that it is a multifaceted condition. For example, one might count the depression of a child losing her favorite toy less severe than that of a mother losing her child.
That would be an oversimplification. Both parties in the above example would feel intense distress and grief. It might even prove worse for the child if it brings up fears of abandonment. The parents may tell the child to move on and that it’s not the end of the world.
Such behavior invalidates the child’s feelings and might lead her to feel insecure. By contrast, no one would go to a grieving mother and tell her that her loss wasn’t significant. She would receive ample support and care to help her while she needed it.
The point is not that one person’s depression is more “worthy” of attention than another’s. The fact is that everyone’s experience is different, and each person must find a way to cope. It’s not up to us to judge how another person acts in such situations.
Without full knowledge of a person’s mindset and circumstances, there’s no way of fully understanding his or her reaction. Authorities now devote October to raising awareness about depression and encouraging sufferers to get tested, to foster greater understanding.
The Evolution of National Depression and Health Screening Month
World Mental Health Day
The World Health Organization and the World Federation of Mental Health choose one day in October to focus on a particular mental health issue. This year, the day falls on October 10th. In keeping with the global concern about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access.”
According to Dr. Ingrid Daniels, President of the World Federation for Mental Health, “Now more than ever greater investment in mental health is needed to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to mental health care. The under-investment in mental health has left large treatment gaps globally.”
The COVID-19 pandemic occurred against a backdrop of rising rates of mental illness around the world. Treatment gaps for mental health disorders are unacceptably large, with 50% of people with mental health disorders in high-income countries having no access to care (World Health Organization). In the United States, the treatment gap is even wider for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and other groups.
Mental Illness Awareness Week
In the United States, we devote the first week in October to mental illness awareness. The practice started in the nineteen-nineties through an initiative of Congress. It continues to this day and has garnered much support.
Screening During October
People with depression often find that it’s hardest to cope during the holidays. Therefore, it makes sense to set aside plenty of lead time between now and the holiday season.
During this time, screening for mental illness becomes more affordable. Many hospitals, facilities, and mental health practitioners reduce or waive their rates for screening.
Those who believe that they may have an issue are more easily able to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Health professionals will then work with them to ensure that they receive the assistance that they require.
What Can I Do Today?
If you feel that you may be depressed, it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A health care practitioner will discuss your options with you. These may include therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
With therapy, patients can learn practical coping skills. While the therapist uncovers the root cause of the issue, the patient uses these skills to feel better.
The type of coping skills depends on the issue a patient faces. Say, for example, that patients are incredibly anxious all the time. The therapist might recommend relaxation exercises, and possibly meditation.
Fun Fact: Meditation, when practiced regularly, calms and stills the mind. Practiced by two hundred to five hundred people, meditation has a regulatory effect on the emotions, cholesterol, drug use, and blood pressure.
With more than 2,450 meditation centers, countless meditation apps, and around 14% of Americans already having tried meditation, there’s plenty of support for you if you’d like to try it too.
Take action today. If possible, have a professional evaluation. No one will think any less of you for admitting you need help. If you’re still wary of involving an outsider, read through our Helpful Tips To Start Your Journey To Recovery From Depression. Your path to wellness starts with one small step – start walking toward recovery.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: Kristina Laova, community manager at markinstyle.co.uk. When I’m not writing at my desk, I’m devoted to ESL teaching and doing certified court translation. A vivid writer, a keen traveler, and an adventurous soul as curious as humanity.
The world is my oyster.
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