(May is Mental Health Month focused on the theme “Pathways to Wellness.” The theme emphasizes good mental health as an important element of a person’s overall health. Wyandot Center, Wyandotte County’s designated community mental health center serving adults, offers this article in connection with the observance.)
Everyone occasionally feels sad or blue. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When a person has depression, however, this condition can interfere with daily life and cause pain for both the individual and those who care about him or her.
“Depression is a common but serious illness,” says Chester Day, MD, chief adult psychiatrist with Wyandot Center, Wyandotte County’s designated community mental health center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that one in 10 U.S. adults reports depression. While the severity, frequency and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual, the most common symptoms of depression among adults include:
• Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings.
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness.
• Irritability, restlessness.
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex.
• Fatigue and decreased energy.
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions.
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping.
• Overeating, or appetite loss.
• Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts.
• Aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
Even the most severe cases of depression can be effectively treated. Dr. Day says the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it can be. The psychiatrist advises that a person experiencing one or more of these symptoms, first meet with a family physician or mental health specialist to rule out a medical condition that may be causing depression. Based on that appointment, the individual can arrange to visit a mental health professional for a psychological evaluation. The final step is identifying the treatment option that’s best for the person – the most common being medication and psychotherapy, or a combination.
“As Wyandotte County’s mental health center serving adults,” Dr. Day says, “Wyandot Center offers a range of outpatient services to help with depression or other mental health disorders.”
For information about how to access services, call 913-328-4600. In a mental health crisis, persons can call Wyandot Center’s 24-hour Crisis Line, 913-788-4200, or visit its Crisis Clinic, 1301 North 47th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.