The Holidays are here, and you know what that means … awkward Family events with prying questions, too much food and crowds everywhere. It is the kind of pressure you avoided all year. The National Institute of Health reports that the holiday season sees the highest rate of depression. So, this column will take a quick look at depression and our mental health.
Depression and anxiety are extremely common in the United States with roughly 40 million people affected. Unfortunately, not everyone who is affected seeks help from medical professionals.
There is a deeply entrenched stigma in the U.S. regarding mental health issues. This causes many people to forgo evaluation and treatment. Concerns that co-workers and Family may question their competency or consider limiting their opportunities are just two reasons causing mental health diagnoses and care to be hidden from sight.
The good news is the culture is changing. All over Fort Bragg resources and specialists are ready to help. Behavioral Health experts located at all Fort Bragg Clinics can advise and provide the support needed.
Additionally, the Soldier Support Center and the Military One Source website both have good information about handling depression and anxiety.
Mental health can be one of the hardest topics to discuss with your provider, friends, or even Family members. Nevertheless, one of the greatest tragedies that can occur is a service member taking his or her own life.
In 2014, the Defense Department Suicide Event Report revealed 23.8 per 100,000 Soldiers committed suicide (highest rate of all the active-duty services).
Although it is difficult to discuss, everyone has a duty to check up on their Family, friends and co-workers. Suicide warning signs include increased use of alcohol and drugs, reckless behavior, calling people to say goodbye, a sudden change in baseline mood and isolation.
Fort Bragg’s Help Line (396-HELP) is available to all, and there are multiple resources at the local and national levels. If you are concerned about someone, speak to them and if necessary, seek help. Let us agree as a community to be there for each other and alert to the warning signs of suicide.
So, this holiday season, please spend time with your Family, give thanks for your blessings and look out for your battle buddies. As always, if you have any concerns or would like to discuss your options further, please schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.