If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, you’re not alone. Find out more about how your mind works, and how to help yourself and your loved ones through emotionally challenging times.
Depression is more than just feeling sad or unhappy. It’s feeling overwhelming sadness or a loss of interest and pleasure in your usual activities. Depression can affect almost every aspect of your life, including your behavior, your relationships, and your physical health. It’s one of the most common mental health conditions, and people of all ages and backgrounds experience it. The good news is that, with the right plan, many people can and do get better.
There is no single cause of depression, but traumatic events, genetics, life circumstances, chronic diseases, and drug and alcohol use can trigger or worsen depressive symptoms. To be diagnosed with depression by a health care provider, you need to have symptoms for at least two weeks.
We all feel anxiety. It’s the emotion we experience when we’re worried about something. But feeling too anxious or anxious all the time is different. An anxiety disorder can make it hard to focus and leave you exhausted. It can even cause physical pain.
If you have anxiety that interferes with your daily life, it might be time to talk to a health care provider to see if what you are experiencing is an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, and many people with anxiety also experience depression.
Our local experts share their best tips for self-care, managing common mental health concerns, and talking to your health care provider.
Monica T. Campbell, Ph.D.
We’re all living through a stressful period of change, uncertainty, and even hardship. That kind of stress can trigger mental health concerns and exacerbate existing mental and physical health conditions. That’s why one of the things I am focusing on in my practice right now is making sure that people have good coping skills necessary for self-care.
Self-care is simply the practice of taking an active role in protecting your wellbeing and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Tamar Chansky, Ph.D.
These are usually the first two words that people with anxiety think when they are worrying. What follows are chains of intrusive, catastrophic thoughts that can be so distressing and distracting that they interfere with daily living. Racing ahead and making negative or threat-oriented predictions about the future come from our ancient survival system doing what it thinks it needs to do to protect us. With an anxiety disorder, that system goes into overdrive. The solution becomes the problem. Because when we’re in worry mode, more things seem more scary and unmanageable.
Ryan Connolly, MD, Medical Director, Behavioral Health, Independence Blue Cross
If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, you may think that you just have to live with it or “tough it out.” The truth is that not getting help can have consequences beyond your thoughts and feelings. Depression and anxiety can affect your physical health and how you perform at home and at work. People who have other health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure will find them difficult to manage without getting help for depression and anxiety.
Dario V. LaRocca, MD, Medical Director, Independence Blue Cross
Stress during the holiday season is not uncommon. On top of expected seasonal concerns, we are also we are also several months into a global pandemic and grieving from losses related to COVID-19. To keep our minds healthy and promote healing, we need a sense of safety and shared experiences. We’re up against a lot this year, so it’s important to take steps to stay healthy, remain connected with our loved ones, and find other ways to cope with stress.
24/7 emergency support
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential support.
Crisis Text Line:
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
The #mindPHL campaign aims to reduce the stigma around people’s need for mental health support. It also encourages Philadelphians to seek help for their mental health challenges. Learn more about the #mindPHL campaign at mindPHLtogether.com. This campaign is sponsored by the City of Philadelphia and Independence Blue Cross.