Mental health is very crucial for healthy living. Understanding how one’s mind works and continuous growth of the mind should be a practice we all follow. The mind should be exercised regularly through use and also well rested just like we feed, exercise and rest the body for a good balance and to be able to get the maximum benefit. Failure to observe this leads to burn out, and prolonged or unchecked burn out leads depression.
Depression is a common mental disorder globally with estimates of hundreds of millions affected. Depression is characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, tiredness, and poor concentration. Often, depressed people have multiple physical complaints with no evident physical cause. This can be a physical manifestation of the internal pressure within; through depressed thoughts and beliefs distorting the body’s normal homeostasis state.
Anyone can get into a depressed state and come out of it, however, prolonged depression due to inability to come out of it is dangerous to both self and others. This is because prolonged depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or suicide. Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing people’s ability to function at work or school and to cope with daily life.
A few ways to prevent depression
Prevention programs have been shown to reduce depression, both for children (e.g. through protection and psychological support following physical) and adults (e.g. through psychosocial assistance after disasters and conflicts).
There are also effective treatments. Mild to moderate depression can be effectively treated with talking therapies, such as cognitive behavior therapy or psychotherapy. Antidepressants can be an effective form of treatment for moderate to severe depression but are not the first line of treatment for cases of mild depression. They should not be used for treating depression in children and are not the first line of treatment in adolescents, among whom they should be used with caution.
Management of depression should include psycho-social aspects, for example; identifying stress factors, such as financial problems, difficulties at work or physical or mental abuse, and sources of support, such as family members and friends. The maintenance or reactivation of social networks and social activities is important.
Dealing with depression during the COVID-19 outbreak
With the current global crisis of the corona-virus which is fast spreading and it’s cure elusive, with the only working solution for now being the prevention of its spread through containment, treatment, and isolation or social distancing. With this, there has been a need for self-quarantine, which has led to businesses closing, institutions such as churches, social events such as concerts, weddings, and meetings just to mention a few with the aim of social distancing to curb the spread of the virus. Most of us if not everyone is feeling the effects of this. When it comes to incomes, both employees and employers have been affected and could lead to stress from lack of earnings necessary to sustain many through this period, an extension of the situation may lead to depression. Other causes that may contribute to depression at this time, burn out from staying at home for too long and cancellation of sensitive plans such as weddings. We all need to be aware of these causes, anticipate and try to prevent through acceptance, constant communication, creating new activities to keep us distracted such as indoor games for kids like board games, find a book and read as a family, watch lots of movies together, snuggle and chill. Doing this while being mindful of see and others will help in maintaining a healthy mind.