May is Mental Health Awareness month. It's a good time to ask yourself; am I aware of my own mental health as well as that of my loved ones? It can be difficult at times to tell if a loved one is suffering from depression or anxiety. It's important to pay attention to the warning signs: Here are a few: Have they lost interest in things they once loved? Are they spending more and more time at home instead of socializing with others? Have they had rapid weight gain or weight loss?
Mental Health issues are very serious. To put things into perspective, this weekend I received a message from a former colleague. She had heard that I was raising awareness for Mental Health particularly depression and anxiety. Upon speaking with her she informed me that a close relative of hers had committed suicide. She had struggled with depression for a few years but no one could have foreseen that she would take her own life. She was in her early twenties. You can imagine how devastating this must be for her family. It's a horrible thing that no one should ever have to experience.
What drives someone so young to feel like they have no other options? Those of us who have dealt with these types of issues know just how debilitating and frustrating it can be. In my opinion I believe Mental Health issues are just as serious as cancer or heart disease. I think it's time we started to give it the attention it truly deserves not just in the month of May but all the time.
If someone you know tells you they are feeling depressed DO NOT take it lightly. Don’t dismiss it as something that we all go through, don’t assume it’s temporary and will pass. For some of us it is not that easy, it’s not a switch you can turn on and off. It’s definitely not something we want to live with. Instead, offer your support by listening and letting that person know how valuable they are to you. Follow up with them to make sure they are well. Show them you care. A simple gesture like this can be all it takes to save a loved one’s life.
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