Submitted by: LaShonda K. Smith, LCSW
As a behavioral therapist who focuses on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, feelings and the behaviors that follow. I have experience working with individual dealing with histories of trauma, depression, anxiety, life transitions, dual diagnosis, health and lifestyle issues.
Within the past few months, the need for mental health services has sky rocketed. There is no real way to prepare for a pandemic. Many people are experiencing signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety. People are traumatized due to sudden death and loss of resources.
I want people to know that Depression does not have a "face". There are many forms of depression, which is why individuals should seek help from a qualified professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Understand, Depression is NOT an emotion, its a condition. Feeling sad and suffering from a diagnosis of depression are two different things.
If you or someone you may know are experiencing 2 or more of the following symptoms for longer than one week, I encourage you schedule an appointment with a Behavioral Health Provider: isolation, low energy, feelings of hopelessness, on edge, chronic worry, disturbed sleep patterns, lack of motivation, weight gain/ weight loss, grief, and past trauma are all indicators of depression or a mood disorder.
People are more open to receiving mental health services, it's now becoming the "cool thing" to have a Therapist. It is becoming less frowned upon in the African-American community. Although we still of a lot of learning to do, I'm glad to see our people breaking dysfunctional family cycles and histories of substance abuse. Its my honor to apart of this movement How to be supportive of a friend or family member in crisis: 1) Help them find a Therapist that is willing to provide TeleHealth Counseling sessions. 2) Encourage them to reach out for help and develop a safety plan for any suicidal ideation 3) Do not abuse alcohol or any other substances during this pandemic. Its easy for people to develop addictions out of boredom and isolation 4) Join support groups 5) Journal, listen to music, practice guided meditation, and exercise 6) Last but not least, always remember that life is worth living and you should be around to see it -- LaShonda K. Smith, LMSW 313-899-0474