Is Depression Impacting Your Work or Academic Potential?
- Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
If you’ve personally experienced depression or had a family member or friend with the disease, then you know it can make basic life functioning difficult. Even simple tasks like getting out of bed in the morning can be a challenge. Depression is very common and can be triggered by a number of different factors including the death of a loved one, tumultuous relationships, or even high amounts of stress. While as many as 10 percent of individuals are affected by depression, research shows that only about 33 percent of those with mental illness reaches out for help.
Some people live with depression and may not even realize it. Symptoms of the disorder can include:
- Feelings of sadness that don’t go away
- Sudden change in temperament
- Lack of focus or concentration
- Inability to make decisions
- Inability to sleep or sleeping much more than usual
- Eating pattern changes such as overeating or loss of appetite
- Constant feelings of defeat or exhibiting low self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies, as the disease progresses
Depression doesn’t exist in a bubble; it spills over into everyday of life, impacting relationships and performance at both work and school. Depression may lead to poor grades, lost productivity and increased absenteeism. Despite the disorder being highly treatable, many individuals avoid speaking about it for fear of being judged or regarded differently by others.
Since depressed workers tend to be absent on average 1.6 more days a month than healthy employees, it pays for employers to support treatment. Findings indicate that over 80 percent of those getting treatment for depression show marked improvement with various types of therapies including counseling and medication.
Chances are, we all know someone affected by depression – maybe that someone is you or a person you love. Don’t let stigma from depression stand in the way of living life to the full. Family Guidance Center can help. If you have questions about depression or would like to visit with a member of our staff, call or click today.
How Parents Can Identify and Support Teens Through Depression
- Tuesday, 01 April 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
The adolescent years can be tough for both parents and teens. The coming of age brings so many emotions that parents may wonder if their child’s moodiness or changes in behavior are something to be concerned about or are just a rite of passage. Depression is a serious mental health condition, so it’s important to be vigilant to the signs.
Dr. Keith Cheng, who is an adolescent psychiatrist and the chief medical officer at Trillium Family Services in Oregon, gives several symptoms of potential depression that parents should watch for:
- Expressing a lack of self-worth or self-esteem
- Experiencing periods of melancholy that persist beyond two weeks
- “Cutting” or other self-harm behaviors
- Losing interest in things or activities once important
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
While depression can be genetic in origin, Cheng says it can also be situational. A break-up or bullying incident is probably much more traumatic for teens and adolescents than it would be for adults. Cheng also says that depression can be triggered when certain developmental milestones are not achieved causing youngsters to feel cut-off from their peers. One example of this provided by Cheng is the child who feels left out at school because he doesn’t have a cell phone like everyone else.
If parents suspect there may be a problem, a good first step is to make an appointment to see the child’s primary care physician. This way, any physical health concerns such as anemia, hypothyroidism, or a deficiency in vitamin D, which can affect energy levels and mood, can be ruled out. Ensuring kids get proper nutrition, sleep and exercise is also important for development and mood regulation.
Children with depression may try and isolate themselves from their families. Parents should still try and maintain open lines of communication and encourage their kids to talk about their feelings on a regular basis.
Depression is a highly treatable disease. There are a number of successful treatment options, and not all involve medication. Family Guidance Center is a local community resource for parents wanting to know more about depression and other mental health disorders. To learn more or set up a free screening, contact Family Guidance Center.
Mental Illness: Confronting Stigma at Work
- Tuesday, 25 March 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
In this day and age, we’d like to believe that those with mental illness experience the same opportunities for employment as everyone else in the workforce. Unfortunately, these beliefs are not always true. While we’ve certainly made great strides as a progressive society, according to Lisa Smusz who serves as the head of PEERS (Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services), a voluntary program shedding light on the stigma associated with mental illness – there is still a lot of progress to be made.
The irony is that many Americans will experience a mental health disorder within their lifetime, but it’s generally not something we like to discuss. Smusz points out that according to 2012 figures released by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 20 percent of Americans, or 46 million people, reported symptoms of a mental health disorder, regardless if they were officially diagnosed or not.
While individuals living with mental health conditions such as OCD, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety often want and need to work for recovery, they may be afraid to disclose such ailments to companies for fear of being labeled or rejected for employment. Numerous studies illustrate that there is a correlation between unemployment rates and mental illness among those with disabilities and that bosses are hesitant when it comes to embracing someone with past emotional health issues.
This just goes to show that society still holds polarized views of mental illness – many wanting to be supportive while secretly harboring certain judgments and fears, even though the majority of people with mental illness are peaceable and productive. Since federal law provides that companies make “reasonable accommodations” to meet special needs of the disabled, employers may avoid choosing applicants they believe have mental disorders to evade any potential conflicts.
Stigma in the workplace exists because people fail to understand the true nature of mental illness. While mental health disorders may be challenging, they are often manageable with appropriate treatment and attention. If you or someone you know is living with a mental health issue, Family Guidance Center can help to achieve employment and other long-term goals. Learn more at www.familyguidance.org.
Depression, the Quiet Companion for Many College Students
- Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:00
Family Guidance Center
Depression is a mental health disorder that can impact anyone under extreme pressure. Experts agree that the condition can be brought on by stressful situations occurring in the workplace, at home, or at school. It should come as no surprise, then, that an increasing number of college students are experiencing symptoms of depression.
College is a time of many transitions and new beginnings. Some students are coping with the reality of suddenly being separated from family and friends. Others are trying to find their place in the new social setting of university life and decipher where they belong. There may be additional peer pressures in the form of substance use. Working students face financial and time constraints that add an extra layer of anxiety, and of course, every college student has the stress of homework, tests, and maintaining an acceptable GPA.
According to Dr. Michelle Weckmann, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa, up to 40 percent of the student population she sees may be living with depression. Individuals heading off to college with a history of depression must learn to balance their condition with all of the external stressors that come with entering this rite of passage. Fortunately, there are ways for students to successfully manage the disease and help keep it at bay.
Weckmann offers the following recommendations to aid in combatting depression:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and maintain a steady exercise regimen.
- Get involved in a volunteer program. Helping others is a great way to avoid getting consumed with one’s own issues.
- Stay connected and build a network of people you can turn to for support if needed.
Depression is not uncommon and is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. College can be a wonderful experience, even for the person living with depression. The key is to address symptoms as early as possible, and Family Guidance Center can help. For more information about depression or to set up an appointment with a mental health professional, contact Family Guidance Center.
Howie Mandel: Shaking Hands is No Deal
- Friday, 28 February 2014 13:00
Family Guidance Center
As a viewer, you may have tuned in and watched the show Deal or No Deal with host Howie Mandel, a television actor, host, and comedian originally born in Canada. What you might not know is that Mandel
rarely ever shakes hands with anyone, including contestants on his show because he has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and an irrational fear of germs. Mandel has also been known to douse himself in hand sanitizer before extending a hand to The Tonight Show host Jay Leno when appearing on the program recently as a guest.
According to an interview with CNN, Mandel’s OCD started when he was a child. Though, at the time, he didn’t understand what made him not want to touch his dirty shoe laces. The condition left him feeling isolated even though the National Institutes of Health stimates that OCD affects more than 2 million Americans.
The problem, says Mandel, is that our country still views mental disorders in a negative light and has disproportionate resources for coping with issues of mental health as opposed to other areas of wellness including medical and dental care. He advocates that mental health, particularly youth mental health, is
deserving of the same attention we give to other aspects of healthcare and that it’s unjust for people to feel shamed for seeking help with depression when they are encouraged to see a professional for say, a routine infection.
Mandel, who also lives with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression, says that OCD is complicated. Sometimes he is more affected by it than other times. And while he knows that touching someone’s hand is physically not going to kill him, there have been times when he can’t keep his mind from racing when just such an encounter occurs.
As Mandel has proven, it is possible to live a successful life in the midst of mental illness. The first step is to talk to a mental health professional if you suspect something out of the ordinary. Family Guidance
Center has mental health professionals trained in helping both children and adults work through various issues
affecting mental health. To learn more, contact a team member at your local Family Guidance Center.