May is Mental Health Awareness Month

There are some discouraging days in everyone’s life. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is sitting right there on your shoulders and there isn’t one thing you can do about it. You don’t have the energy to pick yourself up, the stamina to keep yourself going, the determination to turn everything around and find the hope that seems to have slipped from sight. You feel like there just isn’t any point to doing anything.

That is depression: feelings of severe despondency and dejection along with feelings of inadequacy and guilt. It is usually accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep. It is something that has lasted a longer period of time, not like “the blues” that come along and in a few days is gone. The most common mental illness is depression that can affect your physical well being.

About 43.8 million American adults experience mental illness annually. It is estimated that one in 25 American adults experience a serious mental health issue that substantially interferes with or limits major life activities. It is estimated that 16 million adults in the U.S. had a major depression in the past year. Of the approximately 20.2 million American adults who experienced a substance abuse disorder, more than half had a co-occurring mental illness.

Mental illness is any disease of the mind; the psychological condition of someone who has emotional or behavioral issues that are serious enough to require psychological help. Those who live with serious mental illness have an increased risk of suffering chronic medical conditions and die, on average, about 25 years earlier than others, according to NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness).

So, what causes depression? The experts agree that there is never just one cause, but instead, is a combination of things like losing a loved one to death or a relationship breakup, a serious or terminal illness, loss of hope, victimized through domestic violence, rape, assault, or some form of abuse. A person may feel trapped in a negative situation, feel that things will never get better and are hopeless. There’s just no other way out. The individual can’t find a positive way to cope with the disturbances that are so horribly affecting them. Maybe they are being bullied. Maybe they suffer low self-esteem. When you add several negative life experiences together, toss in not getting help to deal with things and get past the depression, the risks go up for suicide.

Suicide is a tragic reaction to stressed life situations, according to the Mayo Clinic, but it isn’t really an answer at all. Suicide is not the only way to resolve the problems. Suicide is not the answer to anything. There is hope. There are people to help.

Talk to a trusted friend.

Talk to a minister or other spiritual leader.

Call the suicide hotline. In Columbiana County it is 330-424-7767 or 800-427-3606.

Make an appointment with your health care provider.

There are so many positive things out there and coming down the road ahead, all good reasons to keep on keeping on and fighting the good fight to get to stable ground.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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