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Living with mental health issues

Published by: LifeWorks,


Living with a mental health issue—either your own or someone else’s—can feel lonely and isolating at times. Yet millions of people worldwide are dealing with similar struggles. The World Health Organization estimates that depression alone affects more than 300 million people—4 percent of the world’s population. 

Despite being so common, mental health issues often don’t get the attention they deserve. We are not always aware of the negative impact they can have on our physical health, emotional well-being, relationships, and work. Left unaddressed, however, mental health concerns may get worse and give rise to new problems, such as: 

  • alcohol or drug abuse 
  • sleep problems 
  • emotional distress 
  • social withdrawal 
  • decreased job performance 

It is beneficial to confront and seek support for any mental health issues now, rather than wait for them to get more serious. Here are some tips on dealing with common concerns: 

Know how to recognise depression. Depression affects people of all ages and backgrounds. When you are depressed, you may feel down, sad, or hopeless a good majority of the time. You may take little interest or pleasure in things you once cared about. You can lose motivation and feel isolated.  

Take steps to manage anxiety. One proven way to ease anxious feelings—and reduce stress and depression at the same time—is by being physically active. Studies show that something as simple as a brisk 10-minute walk may improve your mood, and this effect may last for several hours.  

Realize that addiction often impacts the whole family. A family member’s drinking or drug problem can affect siblings, children, parents, and partners. You may feel upset, worried, or saddened by a loved one’s addictive behavior. Do not try to handle it all on your own. Share your feelings with trusted confidants and consider joining an in-person or online support group for families touched by addiction.  

Be there for a loved one in crisis. Someone who is having serious mental health struggles may not be self-aware or have the energy and motivation to seek help. That is where you can come in. Calmly and nonjudgmentally, explain what you are seeing that has you concerned. Offer to help find a treatment provider or provide transportation to the first appointment.  

If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, anxiety, addiction, or another mental health concern, you do not have to face it alone.  
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