Under the Hood

Anxiety And Depression: Experts Share Tips For Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are more prevalent now more than ever in the United States. As much as 6.7 percent of American adults suffer from major depressive disorder or clinical depression and 18 percent of the population suffer from anxiety every year. Unfortunately, only 36.9 percent of those suffering from anxiety disorders get the necessary treatment required. 

Children are equally affected by all-pervasive mental illnesses, according to calculations by the Mental Health Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in the United Kingdom. One in 10 children suffer from depression and anxiety, the organization said. 

About 70 percent of children were not given the right kind of treatment when they needed it the most. Parents underestimate the power of robust mental health in adolescence because they do not realize it develops their resilience and helps them develop into well-rounded adults. 

A recent story on BBC featured experts who highlighted important pointers to deal with mental health. Here are some of the tips they shared.

Do Not Stigmatize Men Who Speak Out

Ann John, a medical professor at Swansea University explained that stereotypes of how men should behave hold them back from talking about their emotional problems openly. The stigma of them speaking out is slowly being addressed by safe spaces like Men’s Sheds, where men can be productive, form friendships and let out their innermost feelings simultaneously. 

Providing more resources online targeting men and their emotional needs could help break the stigma, John said.

"Luckily, more role models such as the boxer Tyson Fury and footballer Rio Ferdinand are coming out and speaking about their difficulties," John added. 

Switch Off  From Bullies To Tune Them Out

Leaving a situation or a place behind does not provide much respite since technology makes it hard to maintain a distance from people. 

If someone is being bullied at the workplace or if children are being targeted in school, Fay Short, a professor of counseling at Bangor University, advised to switch off all communication after going back home since, "anyone with a smartphone is now potentially connected 100% of the time.”

Short said having downtime with friends and family could tune out the bullies.

Get To The Bottom Of Self-Harming Tendencies

Self-harm is the temporary act of relieving oneself from emotional pain, without addressing the intrinsic psychological complexities behind the tendencies. Generally, people who inflict self-harm tend to hide the habit since they are ashamed of themselves. John advised showing compassion to people who disclose they have been self-harming and to approach their self-harming habits in a non-judgemental way. 

Deal With Bereavement Head On

Professor Short refrained from calling bereavement a mental health condition that should be dealt with medication. Instead, people experiencing bereavement could sort out their complex emotions (anger, guilt and loss) that can be crippling and hurting them. Counselors could help people grieving the loss of not only a loved one, but a pet, a job, health issues and disabilities with talk therapy. 

Depression Experts are concerned that people with mental illnesses and marginalized groups may be unfairly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay