World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th of October every year. The theme of this year’s event focuses on psychological first aid. This speaks to supportive and psychological help people can offer to fellow human beings who have been through a crisis event.
When we hear mental health, we mostly think of ‘mad’ people. This has led to stigmatization of people of people with mental health issues. They do not own up to the issues they are going through, have no idea where to go for help and are mostly forbidden from talking about their issues. This has led to a situation where people with mental health issues do not get the help they need.
In honour of this day, I will re-post some of my mental health blogs. I hope you find them helpful and more importantly, I hope they help you provide support when next you see someone going through a trying time.
Depression is a mood disorder that is beyond the ordinary ups and downs experienced daily. It is a serious health concern. Some people have described depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. Can you imagine how that feels? Surprisingly though, some depressed people actually don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic; men are more likely to feel angry, aggressive, and restless.
Do you wonder how people get to this ‘black hole’ of depression? Here are some issues that can lead to depression:
- Conflict. The presence of conflict in any area of our lives could lead to depression,.
• Death or a loss of a loved one, naturally leads to grief and sadness. This however, increase the risk of depression.
• Genetics. Studies have not been able to conclusively show how this contributes to the disease, but a family history of depression may increase the risk.
• Major events. I’m sure we can all understand how losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring would lead to depression. But what do say when the opposite is the same? You would think that events like starting a new job, graduating, or getting married would make you excited and raring to go, yes? On the contrary, it could lead to depression.
• Other personal problems can lead to depression and they include, the feeling of social isolation for whatever reason
Depressed people usually lose interest in daily activities. They have no interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. This person clearly loses the ability to feel joy and pleasure.
There is a bleak outlook on life. It appears that everything is bad, getting worse and will never get better. There is an increasing feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
There is a change in weight or appetite. This could be in either direction as a result of differing effects in people: it could lead to increased appetite and subsequent weight gain in some and reduction in appetite and subsequent weight loss in others.
Depression again affects different people differently here and thus could lead to inability to sleep or over-sleeping.
Tolerance level of depressed people is usually low and so they tend to snap at little issues, feel irritable, restless, angry and oftentimes, violent.
Unfortunately, it may not always be possible to prevent depression. But some strategies may be helpful.
• Know your personal risk of depression. If you have a family history, you are more at risk.
• Develop a strong social and spiritual support system. Join activities in clubs, churches, art centers etc.
• Exercise regularly and reduce your stress. If the latter is not readily viable, improve on your stress coping mechanisms.
• Get treatment for alcohol and drug abuse if this is a problem for you.
• Eat healthy and get the necessary amount of sleep daily (7 – 8 hours)
Have a great weekend, y’all 😀