It can start with just taking care of your neighbor.
âWe can take care of the person close to or next to us and start with that person,â said Brittany Drawbaugh, manager of adult and family services at Centerstone in Seymour. “If you notice that things are not going well, ask how you can help.”
As Mental Health Awareness Month continues, it is reported that each year millions of Americans face mental illness and more than 51 million people suffered from mental illness in 2019, according to centerstone. org.
One in five adults and one in six youth suffer from a mental illness each year, and it is estimated that only 45% of adults and 51% of children with mental illness receive treatment.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 19% of the adult population each year.
âData shows that almost one in five adults will suffer from a mental health problem,â Drawbaugh said. “However, in November 2020, the CDC reported that 44% of Americans were suffering from depression or anxiety due to the impact of COVID on their lives.”
Kathy Christoff, director of adult services for Centerstone in central and eastern Indiana, said that for people who historically had mental health issues, those issues worsened over time and intensified as the isolation was really difficult.
âIf someone is suffering from depression, there are signs if you look closely,â Drawbaugh said. “As a general rule, they can be more irritable, take less care of their hygiene, and they can appear lethargic and depressed.”
She said they might have problems sleeping or have difficulty eating with too much or too little food, and they might not seem interested in doing things the way they used to.
âThey could complain about a lot of aches and pains,â Christoff said. âThere are commercials that say ‘depression hurts’, and that’s a real thing. Our bodies sometimes suffer physically with depression. â
Drawbaugh said that someone has one or more of these symptoms, ask the person directly, “Is there anything bothering you that you would like to talk about?” then really listen to the answer.
âYou can even ask specifically if the person is planning to kill themselves,â she said. “It’s a myth that just asking this question could lead the person to suicide.”
Drawbaugh said communities can come together to help prevent suicide in a number of ways.
“Schools using school counselors are something great they can do, and companies that offer employee assistance programs, which include free therapy sessions, can promote overall employee well-being,” she declared.
Organizations can also organize a community walk or a mental health awareness run just to spread the word and make information available.
Christoff said a number of communities held suicide awareness walks every year before the pandemic.
âNot all communities had one. It just depended on what they needed to focus on the most, âshe said. “Madison’s had a number of suicides so they walked around for it, and Scott County has been busy with drug and alcohol issues.”
Christoff said that since resources are limited, each community must determine its goal.
âThe beauty of these kinds of events goes back to what Brittany said and it’s the awareness that destigmatizes,â she said. âRight now, as the pandemic emerges, there is no longer a great time to talk about depression and anxiety with friends and family.
During the pandemic, almost everyone experienced some anxiety.
âNow people are wondering what is expected of them as things start to reopen and they go back to the world,â Christoff said.
She said that if you are feeling down or anxious, do some things to help take care of yourself.
âGet up and move, take a walk or even try light exercise,â she says. “Do something that brings you joy or that you like to do to get up and move.”
Often times when someone is depressed getting up and moving is the hardest thing to do.
âGo back to some patterns that make you feel good and try to eat healthy,â Christoff said. “Also, talking to a friend, your family doctor or a mental health professional can help.”
Drawbaugh said people who feel down and lack motivation can try making a list of things they enjoy doing and then trying something outside of the list.
May is also Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nationally, about one in eight women has symptoms of postpartum depression.
Many people don’t know that mothers can be diagnosed with postpartum depression for up to a year after the birth of their child. There is a difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression, Drawbaugh said.
âThe baby blues lasts about two weeks. Up to 80% of women experience it when their bodies adjust after giving birth,â Drawbaugh said. “Symptoms of the baby blues include tears, worry, mood swings, fatigue and irritability.”
She said the symptoms of postpartum depression are the same as regular depression, but they also worry about harming your baby, feeling disconnected from your baby, crying and feeling guilty about it. not be a good mom.
According to a 2010 study, about 4% of fathers may experience depression in the first year after the birth of their child.
A survey by US News and World Report shows that residents of Jackson County reported a slightly higher ratio than the national average when measuring days of poor mental health per month, with an average of 4.2, the average state being 4.0 and the national average 3.9.
The Mental Health America website says Indiana ranks 48th in the country for the prevalence of mental illness in adults and 18th for the percentage of adults (7.39% or 371,000) with substance use disorders.
On the Web
Resources for additional information on mental health
National Alliance on Mental Illness: nami.org
Mental Health America: mhanational.org
National Institute of Mental Health: nimh.nih.gov
Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration: samhsa.gov