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How Social Support Can Help Us Combat Depression

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide. Depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a common and serious mood disorder. It's more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It's a serious mental health condition that requires understanding, treatment, and a good recovery plan. Our trauma-informed, strengths-based programming is designed to help them deal with the mental and physical health effects of homelessness as they advance toward a healthy and independent future.

Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  1. Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness

  2. Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

  3. Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities

  4. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.

  5. Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort.

  6. Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain

  7. Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness

  8. Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements.

  9. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility.

  10. Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things.

  11. Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

  12. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Depression affects everyone differently, and it may cause varying symptoms. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why. Others may feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts, like a persistent fear of being unloved.

If you're experiencing any symptoms of depression, it's important to seek help from a mental health professional. Treatments for depression often involve a combination of medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy), lifestyle changes, and social support.

Let’s talk about the positive social support aspect that's often overlooked…

Social support plays a crucial role in maintaining both physical and mental health. It can provide numerous benefits for individuals:

  • Reduces Stress: Having someone to talk to can help manage stress levels. Sharing your worries and concerns with others can lighten the burden and make challenges seem more manageable.

  • Improves Mental Health: Social support can decrease feelings of loneliness and increase feelings of self-worth, which can reduce the risk of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

  • Encourages Healthy Behaviors: When you're surrounded by positive influences, you're likely to adopt healthier habits. For example, if your friends and family prioritize regular exercise, balanced diets, and adequate sleep, you're more likely to do the same.

  • Provides Practical Help: In times of need, such as during illness or after a loss, social support can provide practical help, like assistance with meals, childcare, or transportation.

  • Enhances Resilience: Social support can help people bounce back from adversity. Knowing that others are there for you can give you the strength to face and overcome difficulties.

  • Facilitates Coping Mechanisms: By discussing problems with others, we often gain different perspectives and potential solutions. This can help develop coping skills and problem-solving abilities.

Social support is essential part of a healthy and thriving lifestyle. It's important to cultivate strong, positive relationships and to be there for others when they need support, just as they are there for us.

And always remember…

It's okay to ask for help anytime, and it's possible to feel better. 988 is a nationwide phone number for mental health crises and suicide prevention in the United States. It was designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be an easy-to-remember number for people to call when they're experiencing a mental health crisis.

When someone calls 988, they're connected to a network of local crisis centers across the country that provide immediate counseling and can direct callers to local services for follow-up care. The goal of the 988 number is to make it easier for people in crisis to access potentially life-saving resources.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 911. For more information about 988, you can visit the FCC's website.



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