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Protect your mental health — seek help

Protect your mental health — seek help

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As this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is urging Nebraskans to check in on their mental health.

This week’s observance includes National Depression Screening Day today. The number of people in our country who are depressed may be surprising.

According to data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 17.3 million adults in the United States, more than 7% of all adults in the country, had experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.

It’s estimated that 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.

The prevalence could be even more right now because of the isolation and anxiety created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Mental health conditions are important to discuss every day, but these observances provide a dedicated time for citizens across the country to come together with one unified voice and to provide hope and health to those who need it,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the DHHS. “Many people do not seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don’t recognize the symptoms.”

Dawson urges anyone who thinks they may have a mental health condition to reject the stigma that our culture has placed on mental illness and seek help, realizing that they are not alone.

In monitoring for any disease, doctors watch for warning signs, which can include:

—  Fear, irritability, sadness and worry.

—  Changes in sleep or eating patterns.

—  Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

—  Lack of energy and motivation to carry out your day-to-day activities.

—  Worsening of chronic health problems.

—  Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

Mental Health America offers an online depression test at https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/depression.

Our state also has many free and confidential resources for people in crisis:

— Nebraska Family Helpline — any question, any problem, any time — 888-866-8660

— Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746

— National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish

— National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

— National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

— National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

— The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116

— Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Obviously, there are many resources available for those who need hope and help — just ask.

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