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Mental Health, Demystified

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"Mental Health" is the state of our psychological, social and emotional well-being. 

It affects our feelings and perceptions, how we interact with others, the choices we make, and how we deal with stress.  Like our physical health, our mental health can range from pretty awesome to pretty miserable depending on what's going on in our bodies and in our lives at any given point in time.  Because experiencing times of illness, stress and difficulty are a part of life,  everyone is likely to go through a mental health challenge at least once in their lifetime.

There are  ways to improve and maintain good mental health.  Give some of these strategies a try and, when the stress does come, you can handle it like a boss:

  • Stay connected: invest time in meaningful relationships.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Practice keeping a positive perspective.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Develop healthy coping skills.
  • Give yourself time to do what you enjoy. 

 

Maintaining good mental health also means getting a pro to help you out

when you need it. Scroll down to "Local Resources" for more information.

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Local Resources

When you just can't shake the uncomfortable or painful feelings you're having, it's a pretty good sign that it's time to talk to an expert. Your primary care provider can be a great place to start.  They may be able to help you manage what you're going through, or they may refer you to a professional trained with special expertise.

If you don't have a primary care provider, it's a good idea to establish care with one as soon as possible.   Contact your insurance company for a list of covered providers.  You can also start with the Network of Care's General Medical Care List.  If you'd like to contact a mental health professional directly, check out the Mental Health Provider List here.

 

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Feeling down?

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Is it sadness or depression?  What's the difference?  

Helpful facts from the National Institute of Mental Health:

1. Depression is a real illness.

Sadness is something we all experience.  It is a normal reaction to difficult times in life and usually passes with a little time.  When a person has depression, it interferes with daily life and normal functioning.  It can cause pain for both the person with depression and those who care about him or her.  Doctors call this condition, "depressive disorder" or "clinical depression".  It is a real illness.  It is not a sign of a person's weakness or a character flaw. You can't "snap out of" clinical depression.  Most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.

2. Depression affects people in different ways.

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom.  Some people experience only a few symptoms.  Some people have many.  The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.

Men often experience depression differently than women.  While women with depression are more likely to have feelings of sadness, worthlessness and excessive guilt, men are more likely to be very tired, irritable, lose interest in once-pleasurable activities, and have difficulty sleeping.

3. Depression is treatable.

Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated.  The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is.  Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, talk therapy, or a combination of both.

4. If you are suffering with depression, you are not alone.

One in four adults experience a mental health challenge in a given year, and depression is one of the most common mental health challenges in the United States.  Build a support system for yourself.  Your family and friends are a great place to start.  Help them understand how you are feeling and that you are following your doctor's recommendations to treat your depression. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Depression (NIH Publication No. 15-3561). Bethesda, MD: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Concerned for someone you care about?

Recognizing the signs of suicide can save a life.  If you're not sure what to look for, visit SuicideIsPreventable.org.

You can also take a free suicide prevention training. Visit our Training Page for more information. 

 

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Crisis and Help Lines:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Help, Inc.: Shasta County's local crisis help line: 1-530-244-2222

The Crisis Text Line: Text LISTEN to 741741

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment and Referral information helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, then press 1

National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

The Institute on Aging Friendship Warmline: 1-800-971-0016

For First Responders:

Safe Call Now: 1-206-459-3020

Copline: 1-800-267-5463

Code 9 – Officer Needs Assistance: 1-929-244-9911

Serve and Protect: 1-615-373-8000

Share the Load (Fire, EMS, Rescue): 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)

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Need to talk to someone now?  

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for confidential support.  

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)