May is Mental Health Awareness month and every week on WSFL-TV, we’ve been fighting the stigma about mental health. This week, we are focusing on major depressive disorder.
“I was at point in my life where I felt like I had two options. It was either to end my life or reach out for help and receive treatment,” said Leah Menton.
Menton was diagnosed with MDD in 2013. She said like everybody else, she’s had her ups and downs. But the pandemic made it even harder.
“All of sudden life just stops, it feels like you’re stuck in your room, you’re stuck at home. It was hard to stay motivated. It was hard to stay connected and interactive when you’re locked in the same place. I struggled with staying motivated, staying on task, finding a new routine that involved getting up and doing stuff even if that stuff was in my room and not outside the house," she said.
Treatment has made it easier for Menton.
“For four months I was in treatment and it was the best and worst time of my life, it was life changing. It gave me the motivation and the will to get better,” she said.
“I find that depressive symptoms have exacerbated during the pandemic, primarily because of the personal loss or isolation,” said mental health expert, Dr. Katie Lundin.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, an estimated 19.4 million adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
Dr. Lundin said with things getting back to normal, reunions are helping some people toward a more positive emotional state. Still others, are stressed. Especially kids and teens.
“I hear a lot of people say, things are going to back to normal soon. Not for everybody. A lot of people don’t know how to reacclimate themselves in a society that they once were a part of. They’ve gone through all of these changes and very sadly some of them believe now that suicide is an option to handle this problem,” she said.
Lundin said for those who are struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek for help right away.
“Seeking support during a difficult time in your life is nothing to be ashamed of. Ignoring the fact that you need help is the problem, not getting the help,” she said.
“Seek help and whether it’s just talking to somebody, sometimes it helps to get stuff off your chest. Reaching out, there’s nothing to lose,” said Menton.
There are numerous hotlines to call for help for those in a crisis, but if you feel you are at an emergency stage, call 911.
NAMI Broward holds various support groups and virtual events. For resources and more information, click here.