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Mental Health Awareness Month

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month and with an estimated 450 million people worldwide currently living with a mental illness, it’s more important than ever to open-up conversations about mental illness and reduce the stigmas and taboos for those people who are impacted by it and deal with the symptoms every day. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), biopolar disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are some of the most common mental illness, with depression and anxiety being the most common in the United States.

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with over 40 million adults (18 years and older), or 18.1 percent of the population according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can be a long-term challenge, and can develop in both children and adults. While symptoms can vary depending on the individual and their experiences, some common symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  1. Persistent worrying or anxiety about several areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events

  2. Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes

  3. Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t

  4. Difficulty handling uncertainty

  5. Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision

  6. Inability to set aside or let go of a worry

  7. Inability to relax, feeling restless, or feeling on-edge

  8. Difficulty concentrating

Depression affects over 16.2 million adults in the United States, and according to Verywell, “nearly 50 percent of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder”. Some common symptoms of depression (major depressive disorder) according to the Mayo Clinic include:

  1. Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

  2. Angry outburst, irritability or frustration

  3. Loss of interest or pleasure in most, or all, normal activities

  4. Sleep disturbances, either too much or not enough sleep

  5. Tiredness and lack of energy

  6. Reduced appetite or increased cravings

  7. Slow thinking, speaking or movement

  8. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  9. Trouble concentrating or remembering things

  10. Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts

Whether it’s you or a loved one that is dealing with mental health issues, know that you’re not alone, and that there are people who want to help and resources you can turn to!

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a confidential, free hotline (1-800-662-4357) that is available 24/7, every day of the year, and is available for both English and Spanish speakers. They can talk you through the difficult time or moment that you’re going through, and can even refer you to local services including treatment facilities, community organizations and support groups.

If you don’t feel like dialing a number or would feel more comfortable texting, the Crisis Text Line (text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States) is a 24/7 support line that connects you with a real, trained counselor who can listen and help you through the anxiety you’re feeling.

Having a support system is an important part of coping with mental illnesses and their various symptoms and affects, and being open and honest with your family and friends is a great way to build that support system. Consider making a list of symptoms and behaviors you’ve noticed when you or a loved one are struggling with mental illness, and share those with your support system so you and others know when you need extra support and understanding.

Thank you for visiting Cheerful Hearts by LauraBeth Ryan, a person that can help you relieve depression and anxiety online life coach. We hope that you’ve found this blog helpful in taking the first step in relieving depression and anxiety. If you or someone you know needs a personal empowerment coach, contact LauraBeth today.

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