BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, and civil unrest, more than 40% of Louisiana residents are now showing signs of depression, according to Louisiana’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
“Especially in south Louisiana, we’re very communal. We like getting together, our festivals, all that social interaction has been taken away, and that’ll affect us, our anxiety, our stress, our depression,” explained Anthony Germade, executive director of NAMI Louisiana.
On Oct. 8, in recognition of National Depression Screening Day, NAMI Louisiana will offer “Recognizing Depression,” a free online learning opportunity that will provide information about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for adults who suffer from depression.
“If you find yourself maybe being irritable or not sleeping normally, or your eating pattern is off or you can’t concentrate or focus at work like you normally can, that’s a sign that you might want to look into talking to someone, especially if those signs last longer than two weeks,” Germade said.
The confidential virtual event will begin at 12 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Preregistration is required. To participate, visit www.lahealth.cc/depression from any device with Internet access.
Depression affects more than 260 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of disability in the world. Germade says the best thing we can do is check on each other, keep talking, and try to maintain a sense of normalcy.
“The worst thing you can do is isolate,” he said. “We encourage people to stay in a routine as much as they can, especially young people, teenagers, young adults, and let’s not forget about our elderly. Our elderly are usually isolated. We want to socialize with them, make sure they’re okay.”
NAMI Louisiana is a statewide non-profit dedicated to eradicating the stigma, myths, and misconceptions of mental illnesses, to improving the quality of life for all who are affected by these illnesses, and to supporting recovery. Louisiana Healthcare Connections, a Healthy Louisiana Medicaid health plan, is sponsoring the virtual event to help promote depression awareness and screening for National Depression Screening Day.
NAMI also offers other webinars and virtual support groups on general mental health. Click here for a full list of resources.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.
Click here to report a typo.