It’s More Than Feeling Blue
The National Depression Awareness and Education Month is October. Individuals can learn the signs, symptoms and available screening tools available for depression. This mental health concern is not just about “feeling blue” for a day or two. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, describes depression as a “serious mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care.” According to NAMI, most people that have a depressive disorder experience changes in “how they function day-to-day, and typically for more than two weeks.” NAMI also offers a YouTube video, What is Depression?, which provides even more in-depth information.
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of depression can vary per person and how you can find the help that is needed.
Just like an annual physical, it is important to screen for depression. The National Depression Screening Day is October 6, 2022, and Mental Health America offers an online depression screening tool anyone may use and it is anonymous, free and confidential. This type of screening can also be conducted by healthcare providers and can become part of routine healthcare to ensure signs of a serious illness can be detected and a treatment plan enacted.
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Changes in sleep
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- A decrease in energy levels
- A disinterest in activities
- Less active or agitated
- Physical aches/pains
- Suicidal thoughts
Remember it is IMPORTANT to get help for a crisis situation and it is okay to talk about suicide with someone if you are concerned about them. Help is available by phone – call 988 or text 741-741 – for immediate assistance. The crisis line and text are available to people in need, or those who are concerned about a loved one. Trained counselors will help during the call.
Mental Health Association of Fauquier County (MHAFC) provides a comprehensive list of resources available in both Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties on its website. Additionally, MHAFC offers a variety of in-person and online events that address mental wellness in the community. Visit fauquier-mha.org for more information on the programs and initiatives MHAFC provides.
NAMI recently released a book from Ken Duckworth, M.D., which is titled You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health – With Advice from Experts and Wisdom from Real People and Families. This book focuses on shared living experiences gathered from more than 130 interviews and includes FAQs that are answered by top experts, “making it a singular resource for anyone beginning a mental health journey, or their loved ones,” NAMI shared.
This book is available at major retail locations and many independent booksellers. All royalties will support NAMI and our mission of education, support and advocacy for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Here is a YouTube video that provides a book synopsis with the author.