October Is a Time to Focus on Mental Health

October is a time for change – the air gets chilly, we unpack our sweaters, and we start looking ahead to the holidays. It is also – and always – a good time to take a pause and think about our well-being both mentally and physically.

Is there anything that needs our attention? Are there habits or behaviors we should adjust to ensure we’re healthy and thriving?

Promoting Mental Health Awareness and Reducing Stigma

This October, Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day, and World Mental Health Day all dovetail to promote the importance of mental health screenings while also reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions. 

Mental health challenges, such as depression, don’t discriminate and can affect people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, with an estimated 21 million adults experiencing at least one major depressive episode in 2020.

Despite the prevalence of depression, it can still be a difficult topic to discuss, and individuals who are grappling with it can feel ashamed and isolated. That’s why this month’s awareness days are so important. They offer us the opportunity to talk openly about mental health challenges while also encouraging individuals to get screened and seek out help.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

When we talk more openly about mental health challenges, we can also educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms, so that we can more effectively help ourselves and others. 

Some of the most common symptoms of depression include experiencing one or more of the following nearly every day for at least two weeks:

  • Persistent sadness or anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in hobbies 
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Becoming more and more isolated
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Getting Professional Support

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression or other mental health challenges, it’s important to get screened so you can develop a treatment plan. This could include talk therapy with a trained therapist, medication, or a combination of the two. At Sunstone, we have a growing team of compassionate therapists ready to guide you to a brighter tomorrow. Contact us today to find the right counselor for you.

If you have dealt with depression, it could be helpful for you to share your story with others. Often when people are struggling with their own darkness, knowing someone has walked a similar journey can offer hope and encouragement.

Raising Awareness Together

Sunstone is a proud supporter of Shelane’s Run. In partnership with Postpartum Support Virginia (PSVa), Shelane’s Run is an annual 5K Run/Walk aimed at spreading awareness of postpartum depression disorders.This year’s event is virtual, where registered participants are encouraged to wear the event t-shirt while running/walking/strolling/biking between October 22-30.