• The Seasoned Millennial

Reach Out and Check In

Depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness are at an all-time high in this country. Forty-five million people suffer from some form of mental illness and/or addiction and the number is growing.

Why have we as a society not progressed with appropriate treatment? Why is it still something no one wants to talk about or admit they or a family member has dealt with in the past?

We talk about heart disease or cancer without embarrassment. Is it because we are supposed to be responsible for our emotions? Is it because mental illness makes us look weak?

I know that when I talk about my own history of depression and anxiety that most of my friends and associates don’t know how to respond.

It disturbs me greatly that our veterans are committing suicide daily and no one hears about it aside from occasional social media campaigns. When a celebrity does this and acknowledges mental illness, bipolar disorder, manic depression or anxiety they are the hot topic of the hour. Unfortunately, nothing happens. We will continue to see more suicides and use of drugs.

Technology has sped up the demands of work and home life. It has also isolated us more. Social isolation is our number one health issue. With it come the increase in anxiety depression and increased misuse of drugs. Technology as used by us has definitely helped create isolation.

If you really want to start helping yourself and others, stop using your smartphone, iPad, tablet or computer desktop after work or at lunch. Use your phone instead to call a friend and make a date. Call your family and make plans to be together. Go, volunteer. Your friends and family will usually not see what agony you are going through. The first step isn’t the crisis line, as tough as it can be is reaching out to friends and family. Try going for a walk without your phone in your hand too. Talk to people in your life about your pain. Reach out to counseling and don’t be embarrassed. I have sought counseling several times and thankfully have benefitted.

Maybe we should start with a nationwide hour in which we simply shut down on all technological devices and spend the day with your co-workers, friends, and family. You will be surprised at how good you will feel. It would also send a powerful message to the tech companies.

Reach out and communicate with others!