Finding community and care in the face of depression

Finding community and care in the face of depression

October is Depression Awareness Month, helping elevate the serious and prevalent issue that many try to handle on their own. And even though depression is a common experience for adults in the United States, it is still viewed through a negative and stigmatizing lens.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), roughly 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year. Of those experiencing mental health concerns in a given year, less than half will seek mental health care.

Almost all demographic groups scored above 20% at having annual mental health issues. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are most likely to experience some form of mental illness (51%), followed by mixed/multiracial individuals at 35%. Most reported anxiety disorders and major depressive disorders. One in 20 individuals reported serious mental illness.

The statistics are likely much higher because of people’s hesitancy to discuss their own mental health concerns.

Stigma surrounding mental health, specifically depression, shames the expression and vulnerability that comes with talking about depression and other mental health conditions. However, finding community and care in the face of depression can be a crucial part of the journey towards healing and recovery.

Here are some suggestions to help you in this process:

  1. Join a support group. Finding spaces to talk through and process experiences can be important, but also intimidating if the space does not feel inviting or safe. Join or build a community with those who share similar experiences with you. These can be individuals with similar identities, living situations, values, experiences or other common factors. Look for local or online support groups that you feel will provide a safe space to share experiences, gain insights and receive support from others who have similar backgrounds and are going through similar challenges.
  2. Seek professional help. The second opportunity involves seeking out professional care. Although it can be a challenge to find a clinician who shares common identities or experiences as you, finding an affirming clinician can be necessary to receiving effective and relevant care. And it’s important to find a clinician who uses an approach that works for you. No counseling theory is one-size-fits-all; its effectiveness may vary according to your experiences and the way you view the world.
  3. Connect with loved ones. Reach out to your friends, family or trusted individuals in your life. Share your feelings and experiences with them, and let them know how they can support you. Sometimes, simply having someone to talk to, especially a loved one that has a similar background and experience, can make a significant difference.

Depression is an experience shared by many people. Encouraging support from the groups and organizations we are involved with, finding support from friends and family or seeking out help from a professional can be crucial to improving your health and the health of your community.

BHWC Mission

To increase access to effective behavioral health services through coordinated initiatives to recruit, educate, and retain professionals in behavioral health.