April is World Health Month
April 7th, 2017: World Health Day
Depression: Let’s Talk
World Health Day provides the health-care community with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern- all over the world- every year. This year, the health-care community has united for awareness against one of the most deadly illnesses on Earth- DEPRESSION.
Though it is rarely spoken of in public, depression affects as many as 1 in 5 people, and is the leading cause of disability and ill-health world-wide. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with the fear of society’s stigma, prevents many people from seeking treatment and leading productive lives.
To share her professional insight, JTA Wellness is pleased to be collaborating with Diane Cantrell (a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 25 years of experience in the mental health field) for today’s article.
Mental health professionals often refer to Major Depressive Disorder (AKA Depression) as “The Black Dog.” Unlike other more lovable furry friends, depression has earned this nickname for its rather messy characteristics. Depression hangs around for long periods of time, and with his visits you will find that he provides an ample supply of guilt trips. He limits one’s ability to concentrate, sleep, enjoy pleasurable activities, and he gnaws away at your energy. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have seen many of these black dogs. Though I adore dogs, these black dogs are not our best friends.
Depression is not just a sad mood. It is an illness that impacts our ability to function, think clearly, and causes you to look at life through a negative lens. It is imperative that one takes this black dog very seriously, for it can be life threatening. In fact, this illness impacts the lives of millions across the world and is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. Whether you are aware of it or not, I am sure that you know or have known someone who suffers with this disorder.
The good news is, as with many illnesses, Depression is treatable! Counseling and medication management can restore one’s health and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, once the Black Dog has visited, you are more likely to receive another visit from him in the future. It will be important to prevent a relapse, or possibly the onset of depression by practicing the following:
- Build a support network of family and friends with whom you can be authentic
- Keep a gratitude journal. Being in a state of gratitude actually changes your brain chemistry
- Engage in creative endeavors
- Exercise to release positive chemicals in your brain that reduce depression and anxiety
- Seek to Savor Every Moment; learn to quiet your mind through the use of Mindfulness. Search for optimism in the little things.
This article was written by JTA Wellness.
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