How Do I Tell People I Have A Mental Illness
You could explain that depression is an illness and that your symptoms are not your choice. Try practising what to say with your doctor, nurse or community worker or with someone else you trust first. Imagine how different people might react so you can be prepared for their response.
The Heads up website has tips for telling people in the workplace about your mental health condition.
Beyond Blue has a mental health program for the workplace, with advice for employers and employees on mental health conditions.
I Am Not Alone In Dealing With Depression At Work
Mental illness can be isolating, and I would often find myself thinking that I was the only one struggling with it. Through my recovery, I began to learn more about how many people are impacted by mental health conditions. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States are affected by mental illness every year. In fact, clinical depression is the worldwide. When I think about these statistics in the context of my office, its almost certain that I was not and am not alone in dealing with depression or anxiety.
When A Parent Is Depressed
…What kids want to know
- Guides & Publications
- When a parent is depressed … What kids want to know
Children have a lot of questions when someone in their family is sick. When the problem is about depression, it often becomes a secret that nobody talks about. When children don’t have answers to their questions, they tend to come up with their own, which may be incorrect and scary!
Every parent and child’s “beginning conversation” about depression will be different depending on the child’s age and ability to manage the information. You know your children best.
This information will help prepare you to take the first step. If you have already started talking to a child about depression, this information will give you details to keep the conversation going. It lists common questions children have about their parent’s depression, as well as suggestions for how to answer their questions.
What is depression? How does depression work?
- Depression is a disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts.
- When people are depressed, their brain works differently from when they don’t have a depression. Our brains help us to think, feel, and act in certain ways. So when people are depressed, they think, feel, and act differently from how they do when they’re well.
- Depression is not a weakness.
- Depression is a fairly common disorder, even though people don’t always talk about it.
What causes depression? How does it start?
Will the depression ever be fixed?
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How To Talk To Friends About Your Depression
Deciding to tell the people you love that you’re struggling with depression is a big step. Not only is it challenging to find the energy to reach out to people, but there are naturally worries about how the news of your diagnosis will be received.
Unfortunately, there are too many misconceptions about mental health and what it means and the last thing you need is to be judged negatively because of it.
But, opening up about your depression is one of the most effective ways to get the help and support you need at a time when you likely feel vulnerable and alone, especially if you choose to disclose your illness to people that you know and trust.
Remember though, you are in control and you get to choose who knows and who doesn’t. Just don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from opening up to the people who care about you.
If you’re considering disclosing your diagnosis to the people close to you but just aren’t sure how to start the conversation, here are some things to consider.
What A Therapist Looks For
An evaluation with a mental health professional can give you more answers about your mental health, including a formal diagnosis.
To understand your symptoms and see whether theyre indicative of depression, a therapist will want to know how long your symptoms have lasted and how severely they impact your daily life. A major depressive episode must have lasted for at least two weeks for a therapist to make a diagnosis of a mental health condition.
To make an accurate and informed diagnosis, your therapist will also want to rule out other causes of your symptoms. They will likely ask you about:
- Grief from a recent loss
- Past or recent trauma, including physical or psychological abuse or injury
- Recent life changes, like pregnancy or divorce
- Substance abuse problems
- Your mental health history
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Tip #: Dont Expect The Doctor To Read Your Mind
Even a doctor who has seen the same patient for many years may miss the symptoms of mental illness, especially if he or she is focused on other conditions and concerns. Thats not to say that doctors never sense a problem and ask about it in fact, they frequently do. As depression becomes a more commonly-discussed topic in primary care and family medicine , more and more doctors regularly screen for it. But dont assume it will come up prepare to bring it up.
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How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you dont know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You dont have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Dont expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
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Cry For Help: New Moms And Depression
Dr. Weitzer urges patients to think holistically, encouraging them to stay connected to loved ones, throw themselves into a new hobby, and eat a healthy diet that is rich in fresh produce and low in sugar. She recommends maintaining an exercise routine and good sleep hygiene.
Dont be afraid to start the conversation with your primary care physician, says Dr. Weitzer. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders, fortunately, there effective treatment strategies available. With a physicians guidance, a patient can find the right combination of lifestyle changes and medication for an improved quality of life.
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Most People With Depression Need Treatment To Feel Better
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your health care provider. This could be your primary doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions . Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A health care provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. Your health care provider will examine you and talk to you about treatment options and next steps.
Talking to Your Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health
Communicating well with your health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read about tips to help prepare and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask your health care provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Youre Preoccupied With Thoughts Of Death
Persistent thoughts about ending your life, wondering how friends and family would feel if you went and did it, pondering different ways to carry out the act, and even general thoughts about death are all strong indicators that its time to reach out for professional help, said Wolkin. Because these thoughts pose such a direct threat to your life, its important to seek help even if you dont recognize any other symptoms of depression in yourself, said Wolkin.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts about hurting themselves or committing suicide please seek immediate help. The following resources, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , can help:
- Call 1800273TALK to reach a 24hour crisis center or dial 911. 1800273TALK is the National Suicide Prevention Lifelineexternal icon, which provides free confidential help to people in crisis. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationexternal icon runs this lifeline.
- Get help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
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More And More Employers Support Emotional Wellness In The Workplace
Mental health stigma is a real thing, but there is growing understanding of how mental health can impact employees, especially at larger companies with human resources departments. Ask to see your employers personnel manual. These documents will tell you what you need to know about your rights and benefits.
What If I Dont Know What To Say
Dont wait to talk just because youre not sure what to say. You can keep it simple. You can start just by saying, Got a minute? I need to talk. Then say what youre going through. For example, Ive been feeling down a lot lately. I think I might be depressed. The person youre talking to might ask you to tell them more. Sometimes, thats all it takes to get started talking.
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What Is A Clinical Depression Test
A test for clinical depression helps provide a better understanding of the scope and impact of your depressed mood. The test includes a scale on which to grade various depression symptoms. Your provider will determine your total score, and the total score combined with a clinical interview determines your diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
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Taking Healing Stepshow Do I Tell My Family Im Depressed
Right now, under the weight of your depression, simply sitting down to talk about it can feel like an enormous burden. But the truth is that you really dont need to be carrying that heavy weight alone. Here are some ideas about how to think about and approach conversations with your family and friends about how you are struggling with depression.
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Tip #: Understand That There Are A Number Of Diagnoses To Consider
Once youve shared your concerns, realize that your doctor has the important and challenging job of arriving at a diagnosis. What may initially sound like depression may in fact be the result of more than one mental health issue, and/or a combination of mental and physical illnesses. For example, anxiety and depression often occur together, depression and bipolar illness share some common characteristics, and depressive illnesses frequently co-occur with chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer. Your doctor may ask a number of screening questions and/or schedule a follow-up appointment to learn more.
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What To Share With Your Doctor
- Talk honestly and openly about how your symptoms impact your day-to-day life. Let your doctor know what things your symptoms prevent you from doing, especially the things you need to do to successfully get through the day. This will allow your doctor to help you with any medication changes and overall management strategies.
- Tell your doctor about any ideas, concerns, or misgivings you have about your depression treatment. You know yourself better than anyone, and you can be your own health advocate.
How Can Talking To A Parent Help
It can feel like a big relief to have someone listen, hear you out, and show they care. Talking together can help you feel more hopeful. It lets you know you’re not alone. Someone believes in you and has your back.
Sometimes, a parent can help you see another angle to a problem you’re dealing with. They can give good advice. When you feel their support, it’s easier to think of ways to help yourself, too.
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You Can’t Concentrate Or Focus
Forgetting work deadlines or when to pick up your kids from a playdate? Feeling like your mind resembles an out-of-focus photo, and the fuzziness has made a dent in how you weigh choices and make decisions? That could be depression.
Being preoccupied with thoughts of sadness and emptiness can plunge you into a head fog that affects your job, memory, and decision-making skills, said Wolkin. That unfocused thinking can lead you to make poor choices or take on unhealthy, risky behavior.
What Treatment Should I Be Offered
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.
Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.
NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.
Step 1: Everyone who may have depression
Your doctor should offer you:
- an assessment of your symptoms,
- support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
- information on how to deal with your symptoms,
- monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 2: Mild to moderate depression
Your doctor may offer you:
- low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- physical activity programmes,
- group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked
Your doctor may suggest:
Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:
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How To Tell If You Have Depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.
Why You Should Talk About Depression
Naturally, the prospect of disclosing your depression to other people is scary. You have no way of knowing for sure how they will respond.
But choosing to tell the people closest to you about your diagnosis and your struggles can be very healing, especially if they offer support and encouragement.
In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, simply talking to a sympathetic person can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.
Likewise, letting other people know about your depression provides a safety net of sorts, especially if your condition worsens or if you need help or support.
In some cases, you may even want to share your crisis plan with a few trusted friends or family friends. This way, they know how to respond if your depression hits crisis level or you start talking about suicide.
The key is that you try not to deal with depression alone. Being depressed already heightens feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hopelessness.
You can help counteract these feelings by surrounding yourself with supportive people who remind you that you are not alone and that you are lovedeven when you don’t feel that way.
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