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Mental Health Awareness: January 25, 2019

It’s often overlooked, even ignored, but health experts say mental health conditions are real and should be addressed. “Physical illnesses are tangible. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder is hard for someone to understand because it’s not tangible,” explained Jayme Hodges, director of behavioral health with Lee Health.

But they are treatable—if people seek help. “Sometimes people see it as a weakness. It’s difficult to come to someone else and say I need help; I can’t do this by myself. I should be able to handle this. I should be able to do it differently. I must be weak because I cannot,” said Hodges.

Everyone experiences things differently and copes with things differently. Health experts say finding healthy coping skills is important to your overall health. “We can change our perception. Sometimes the only thing we have control over is how we view a situation and how we choose to react to it,” said Hodges.

Adding a physical activity, talking to someone, and taking time for yourself are a few positive ways to help you cope. “There’s a difference between “me time” and isolation. That line between what is “me time” and what is isolation differs for each person,” she said.

While dealing with things like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be difficult to see the impact it’s having on those around you. “Most times those around you will notice changes before you are aware of them. Whether it’s your facial expressions are different, you seem sadder, you seem not like yourself,” said Hodges.

Taking the time to acknowledge how you feel and practice healthy coping skills can help to improve your physical and mental health.

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