Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences a mental illness within a year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. Despite the high prevalence of the disease, depression and anxiety remains shrouded in a stigma that all too often prevents those living with the disease from getting the treatment they need. Fight the stigma by following the tips below, and encourage those around you to do the same.
Recognize the signs of depression and anxiety.
The stigma surrounding mental health won’t be removed until we’re open about signs of depression and anxiety – and seek treatment for ourselves and our loved ones as soon as we notice them.
Signs of Depression
Persistent sad or empty mood
Fatigue or lack of energy
Feelings of guilt
Feelings of worthlessness
Insomnia or oversleeping
Low appetite or overeating
Loss of interest in activities
Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms of Anxiety
Hot and cold flashes
Pain or tightness in chest
Those struggling with depression and anxiety often feel they can’t talk about their illness without being judged. Instead of treating topics surrounding mental illness as taboo, talk openly about them by sharing your experiences as well as listening to others.
Understand anxiety and depression.
Take measures to educate yourself about depression and anxiety, and learn how you can best support those struggling with either.
Be outspoken against the mental illness stigma.
If you notice anyone encouraging the stigma around mental health, take the opportunity to gently let them know the harm their words or actions could have.
Give mental health the same importance as physical health.
Yearly physicals, screenings, exams and dental cleanings are all widely accepted parts of personal healthcare, while therapy appointments and mental health screenings are seen as supplemental at best. When approaching health from a holistic perspective though, both have equal importance. Don’t hesitate to schedule appointments for your mental health, and invest in your mental health daily.
Support those with mental illness.
If you have friends or family who are struggling with anxiety or depression, support them just as you would if they had a physical condition. Let them know you are there for them, and encourage them to take every measure available to alleviate the symptoms of their condition.
Seek treatment when you need it.
If you think you may have depression or anxiety, seek treatment immediately. As more people address their mental issues, treatment for depression and anxiety will become more common and accepted.
Depression and anxiety can be debilitating, but at Baptist Health, we offer a range of innovative treatments and services that can help those struggling with mental issues find relief – and achieve happy, healthy lifestyles they deserve. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental illness, get in touch with your family doctor or request an appointment today. You can also learn more about the behavioral health services provided at Baptist Health, from distance counseling to geriatric behavioral health to substance abuse treatment.