Did you know October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month? In addition, did you know that mental health disorders generally tend to worsen during the holiday season?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.” When you take that statistic into account, it makes sense that this annual observance is held in the months that precede the holiday season. This way, awareness is spread on the importance of being screened so that you can be prepared for the coming “winter blues” if you are someone who is diagnosed with a mental illness.
So, we wanted to help with that mission by spreading awareness in our own little corner of the wellness world. Here is a great handout created by NAMI that details symptoms of depression that are important to recognize. Do you know the signs that point to someone you love who may be struggling with mental health? Do you know the signs that YOU are struggling with mental health?
Here is an excerpt from the handout detailing the symptoms:
- Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
- Poor appetite or overeating?
- Feeling sad, anxious, or “empty” often?
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or hopeless often?
- Loss of interest in activities you/they once enjoyed?
- Thoughts or mentions of suicide?
- A lack of energy or motivation to do normal activities?
- Trouble concentrating on activities such as reading or watching TV?
- Moving or talking slower than normal? Or being more fidgety and restless?
In other words, are you acting like yourself? A major change in your wellness habits (sleep patterns, nutrition, exercise, as well as social and emotional connections and your self-worth) is more important than just what that change is. Pay attention to sudden changes in yourself and others, as they may reflect something deeper.
So what to do if you notice the signs in yourself or in a loved one? Get help. A huge part of this annual observance is meant to encourage people to seek help and remove the stigma that currently surrounds mental health struggles. As always, we encourage a proactive approach to your health. Stay healthy!