Battling the Blues

Is depression affecting you or a loved one?

By Rachel Evans


Oct. 11 is National Depression Screening Day.

The theme this year is “Reach Out” and emphasizes connecting with people around you and building social supports. Make mental health a priority.

Mental health is just as important as physical health.  This day is an opportunity where hospitals, clinics, colleges, and community groups can screen for various forms of depression and mood disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every six adults in the United States will suffer from depression in their lifetime.

Worldwide, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

According to Cassandra Sheets, CEO at Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc., “Depression is real and can stem from certain physical or genetic conditions.  Heredity can play a part in someone becoming depressed. Trauma, stress, and social isolation are known to cause depression. Several prescription medications list depression as a possible side effect.” There are clinics and organizations that offer trauma treatment for youth so you may refer someone who needs professional help to these organizations.

Suffering from depression?

Depression is a treatable mental health condition that is typically characterized by persistent sadness and loss of interest. The following are some additional symptoms of depression:

— Changes in sleep and appetite

— Poor concentration

— Loss of energy

— Loss of interest in usual activities

— Low self esteem

— Hopelessness or guilt

Be aware that not all people experience symptoms of depression or the degree of symptoms may vary. For an online screening, go to:

If any of the above symptoms sound like what you, a friend, or a family member is experiencing, schedule an appointment with your doctor today.

Depression may cause some people to have thoughts of hurting themselves or taking their own life. If you or anyone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, seek immediate help. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24−hour crisis center or dial 911.

Locally, the Mobile Crisis Assessment Team is also available to assist at 315-732-6228.

Follow this advice

The following are simple tips that you can add to your day to prioritize your mental health:

— Turn your cell phone off for 20 minutes a day and spend that time going for a walk outside.

— Focus on your breathing throughout the day, and listen to your body’s cues.

— Journal and write down three things you are grateful for or proud of yourself for doing today.

— Reach out to a friend in need today and pay attention to how you feel afterward. Helping others can boost your own well-being.

— Set aside time to exercise every day. Working out can help reduce your stress and feelings of anxiety and depression.

— Be aware of the symptoms of depression.

— Mental health and physical health have many connections, and one is eating healthy. Try to eat a piece of fruit at every meal every day.

— Develop a consistent sleep routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and keep track of how many hours of sleep you are getting.

— Reach out to a friend. Stay in touch with loved ones. Schedule a lunch date or meet for coffee. Spending time with friends can help to improve your mood.

— Spend time with your pet. Taking care of a pet can have a calming influence on you and reduce stress.

— Try to keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid all drugs. Alcohol can negatively affect sleep and mood. While it may provide a temporary mood boost, over time, alcohol can increase depression.

The Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc. has a number of professional counselors on staff to help.

Both day and evening appointments are available for both individual and counseling sessions by calling 315-733-1709.