Below I’ve provided California and Connecticut as well as national resources for anyone dealing with a mental illness or struggling to help a family member or friend with a mental health issue.
You are not alone!
SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Nami is a fantastic resource both for individuals who have a mental illness and their family members. They are active at both a national and local level.
California Youth Crisis Line
This statewide crisis line is tailored to the specific needs that young adults and teens may be experiencing in a crisis.
Connecticut Mental Health Resources
California Suicide Hotlines
Connecticut Suicide Hotlines
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting around 15.7 million adults in 2014 . It can affect any age group, gender, and race, though the symptoms may be different from person to person. Depression may occur due to significant life events or may appear without any apparent reason. Depression can change the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and functions and many people report that depression feels like a fog that they cannot get rid of.
Thankfully, depression is a very treatable mental health issue that can be helped with a variety of treatments including talk therapy and medication. Some other forms of treatment that have been reported to have some effectiveness are: physical exercise, alternative/holistic medicine, and changes to diet and lifestyle. You may find that one or a combination of some or all of these may be helpful in treating your depression. I encourage you to discuss your symptoms with your primary care doctor and a therapist you feel comfortable with.
You don’t have to suffer through depression alone! Please consider getting assessed and treated (if appropriate) for depression, if you struggle with any of the symptoms below.
Common Symptoms of Depression:
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, and emptiness often without a trigger
Thoughts of death or suicide
Tiredness, lack of motivation/energy
A significant increase or decrease in appetite
Sleeping too much OR sleeping too little
Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed
Irritability, angry outbursts
Trouble thinking or remembering things
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America also offers a free online self-screening tool for depression: https://www.adaa.org/iving-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/screenings/screening-depression
Online resources for additional information on depression:
All about Depression.Com
Families for Depression Awareness:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_brochures_print
Stress and Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are now the most common mental health issues affecting both children and adults. The good news is, that like depression, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) gives this description “Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, and each with unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.
If you think you are struggling with overwhelming anxiety, it’s important to receive an accurate diagnoses that differentiates between a mental health issue and a discomfort due to environmental stressors. Anxiety disorders are often hereditary and researchers believe that anxiety develops as a result of both our genetics and environment. Anxiety Disorders show up in a variety of forms including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Selective Mutism
- Separation Anxiety
- Specific Phobias
- Many people report that along with emotional discomfort, they also experience physical health symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress, chest discomfort and sleep disorders.
Anxiety can be effectively treated with psychotherapy, especially a type called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (a type of therapy that helps individuals learn how their thoughts affect their feelings and behavior). Some people find that medication can be helpful, along with various forms of holistic treatments, lifestyle and diet changes. Depression and Anxiety frequently show up together, so it’s important to disclose all mental health symptoms that you may be experiencing to a treatment provider.
Additional Online Resources on Anxiety:
Anxiety and Depression Association of America self-help materials: https://www.adaa.org/finding-help/self-help-publications
American Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry ( Information on anxiety in children): http://www.aacap.org/aacap/families_and_youth/resource_centers/Anxiety_Disorder_Resource_Center/Home.aspx
The Anxiety Network:
The right therapist makes a huge difference.
Please reach out and ask me anything else you’d like to know.