October: A Call for Mental Health Awareness in New Mexico
National Depression Awareness and Screening Month
How often do you feel upset or anxious? When was the last time you felt at ease and at peace? As we move into a new season, October is a good time to check in on our thoughts and feelings. Taking stock of our mental health and well-being is good for all of us.
Are you aware of the signs of depression, or when it might be time to seek help? October is dedicated to Depression Awareness and Mental Health Screening. Depression isn’t just a “mood”. It is a serious health condition that shapes our emotions, actions, and thoughts. There is no one-size-fits-all description of depression because it affects each of us differently. It’s common for new mothers to go through bouts of postpartum depression, and for many of us to slide into depression after a death of a loved one, for example.
People experiencing depression may:
- Lose interest in daily activities they used to enjoy.
- Feel hopeless, helpless, worthless or guilty.
- Feel angry, cranky or restless.
- Gain or lose weight.
- Have trouble sleeping or sleep too much.
- Have trouble focusing, forgetting details and making decisions.
- Be always tired or in pain.
- Feel guilty or not worthy.
- Increase drinking or drug use.
- Have recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
Stigma and shame around mental health keep people back from asking for help. Mental health conditions affect every one of us. Depression is not a sign of weakness or a weak character. It’s an illness, just like asthma or hypertension that can be treated. Every day, people recover from depression. You are more than your depression. Your personality, talents, skills and compassion are your defining traits—not your condition. Your story has immense power. Share it bravely and openly. Through your journey, you can help others and be a spark for positive change.
You can find help and treatment right here in New Mexico. Getting screened for depression is the first step you can take at a healthcare provider visit. Let your provider know you’d like to discuss your mental health. You can find free screening tools online from Mental Health America, including depression screening, that can help you talk about your condition with your provider. Medication and different types of therapy can also help lead to recovery. Through the New Mexico Human Services Department, Medicaid is available to help low-income New Mexicans access quality healthcare, including mental health and substance misuse treatment. To apply for Medicaid, visit the HSD website.
If you want to learn more about other help , the BHSD website is a good place to start. If you are ready to seek help for yourself or a loved one, you can use the Treatment Connection website, no matter your insurance, to find a provider specific to your needs.
Remember, the 988 Lifeline is a valuable resource for any New Mexican struggling with strong emotions. Call or text 988 to talk with a trained and compassionate counselor. It is always free, confidential and available 24/7 for any reason to help work through any problem or feelings and to get local treatment resources.
New Mexico thrives when all its communities are thriving. This October, take the pledge to:
- Be aware of our mental health.
- Kindly support those struggling.
- Encourage inclusive conversations.
- Maintain both our mental and physical well-being.
This October, let’s all try to give a positive message of hope and healing and stop labeling people who might be struggling emotionally because depression affects all of us. Be the friend who reaches out.
The Dose of Wellness campaign, pioneered by the New Mexico Department of Human Services, Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD), was created to build awareness of the close connection between mental and physical health. With every conversation and every story shared, we move one step closer to a healthier New Mexico.