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Depression / Anxiety 

Depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how someone thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, and typically exhibits itself as a feeling of fear or apprehension. It is normal to feel anxious in new settings or experiences, but in the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear or apprehension may stay with you for a long time and can interfere with daily activities like school, work or relationships.

Depression: We all go through spells of feeling down in the dumps and gloomy, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. The ways in which depression can have an impact on us varies from person to person, but it is common to find that it interferes with our daily routines. People who are depressed often find that they lack the motivation to do things such as household chores, hobbies, work, socializing, maintaining relationships, as well as other activities. By avoiding effort, you experience relief, which leads to more avoidance. However this relief is only short term – in the long term it can make you feel worse and your mood becomes lower.

Anxiety: Anxiety is a normal, unpleasant, part of life, and it can affect us all in different ways and at different times. Anxiety can make a person imagine that things in their life are worse than they really are, and prevent them from confronting their fears. Often they will think they are going mad, or that some psychological imbalance is at the heart of their woes. What is important is the recognition that anxiety is normal and exists due to a set of bodily functions. 

The ways in which depression can have an impact on us varies from person to person, but it is common to find that it interferes with our daily routines. What are some warning signs of depression?

  • Emotional Changes:
    • Feeling down, despairing or empty
    • Short-tempered or easily angry
    • Getting discouraged or infuriated over small things
    • Loss of importance in regular activities
    • Shying away from, or conflict with, family and friends
    • Low self-esteem or feeling of insignificance
    • Having a hard time with failure, and the need for unnecessary encouragement
    • Having a hard time concentrating or remembering things
    • Thinking about death or suicide
  • Changes in Behavior:
    • Low energy levels and tiredness
    • Lack of sleep or sleeping too much
    • Changes in the way you eat
    • Using alcohol or drugs
    • Restlessness
    • Keeping to yourself
    • Harming yourself
    • Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt

Anxiety can cause physical and emotional symptoms. A specific situation or fear can cause some or all of these symptoms for a short time. When the situation passes, the symptoms usually go away. Some of the most common signs of anxiety are:

  • Thinking that you may lose control and/or go “mad”
  • Thinking that you might die
  • Thinking that you may have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain  tumor
  • Feeling that people are looking at you and observing your anxiety
  • Feeling as though things are speeding up/slowing down
  • Feeling detached from your environment and the people in it
  • Feeling like wanting to run away/escape from the situation
  • Feeling on edge and alert to everything around you

Often, because the anxious feelings and thoughts are so bad, we don’t want to tell anyone how we feel as we believe that they might not understand or they might laugh at us. However, this is the best way to get help to change how you feel. By looking at this page, you are already aware that you are not happy with how things are. Talking to someone about how you feel can help.

The good news is that depression / anxiety is treatable! This means there are things that can be done to reduce feelings of this. The first step is to speak to someone that you trust about how you are feeling. This could be a teacher, a parent, a relative or another adult that you trust. Talking to someone will reduce the depression / anxiety and stress, it may also help you to realize that you are not alone in how you are feeling. 

Mississippi Department of mental Health Helpline - 1-877-210-8513 

- 800-TLC-TEEN

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Below is a list of a few simple things that you can do to support someone living with anxiety, stress or anxiety based depression:

Be Reliable
For those experiencing anxiety, stress or depression, it can make a world of difference to know that they have someone they can depend on. By letting them know that you are always there, should they need you, can act as a real reassurance.

Ask How You Can Help
Anxiety, stress and depression can affect different people in very different ways. What can be helpful for some people may not be for others, and so it can be important to ask what you can do rather than simply handing out advice. Some people may not be able to tell you exactly how you can help, but it’s good to allow them to try.

Encourage Them to Try New Things
Trying something new can be a great distraction. Is there an art class they have always wanted to try or maybe something that they have never thought about giving a go? The great thing about this is that it could be something that you could do together.

Encourage Them to Explore Support Options
There are a range of support options available for those experiencing anxiety, stress and depression, and different options can work for different people. Whether it’s self-help resources, support groups or accessing therapy, the most important thing is that the person knows that there is help available and it’s just about finding what works best for them.

Encourage Them to Include Exercise in Their Day
Exercise can have a huge impact on a person’s mental well-being. Whether it’s walking, running or joining a local sports team, exercise is something that you can do together and both feel the benefits from. So get those sneakers on and encourage them to do the same. 

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