Building Community Resources and Supports
Major depression is one of the most prevalent diseases in our society. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, patient education and developing resources for those suffering from mental illness is one our most important goals as an organization. That’s because we want to see everyone lead a healthier and more fulfilling life regardless of their circumstances.
According to the Center for Disease Control, slightly over 4% of adults in the US meet the criteria set for for “major depression,” with a heavier concentration of individuals experiencing depression in the Southeastern region. It was also noted that more people in the Southeast also experienced concurrent chronic conditions associated with depression, such as stroke and obesity. Unfortunately, Southeastern states leading in the percentage of adults experiencing “current depression” includes our great state of Louisiana, which is in the 10-15% range. It’s important to note that “current depression” includes both major, minor and, other forms of depression.
States with the highest rates of depression were also found to have similarly high rates for obesity, heart disease, sleep disorders, stroke, medical insurance barriers, and lack of formal education.
To combat depression, it’s helpful to have a large network of resources at your fingertips so that you don’t have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Building a network of interests and activities within the community, employing a myriad of coping skills, and leaning on the support of others can help you win the fight. Without further adieu, here are some resources, both online and local, to help:
Resources For Mental Health In Louisiana
- Support Groups: Offering a hand-up rather than just a hand-out, peer mentorship and building connections with others in the community who know firsthand what it’s like is key in fighting this disease. Check your local paper or community magazine for information on when and where they meet.
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): One of the leading education and advocacy groups in the US. Their website, NAMI.org, offers information on every mental illness, medications, support groups (both online and in-person), and how to fight the stigmas associated with mental illness. Their information hotline can be reached Weekdays 10am to 6pm EST. 1-800-590-6264.
- Residents of Louisiana can reach their own state chapter here. To connect with local, free, and confidential NAMI support group, call 225-291-6262.
- Take A Walk in a Local Park: Wherever it is that you live, take full advantage of being outside in the cool of the day with a walk in the park. Even though going out may seem like a big chore, when it’s hardest to do so is usually when you need it the most. Just practice smiling at one person while you’re there, or sit and watch the sunset once a week. Take a journal or sketch pad with you. Simply going out in nature can do much more for you than sitting inside the entire day. Plus, receiving Vitamin D from sunlight will help fight depression as well. Best of all, it’s free!
- Go to a concert: Louisiana is known all around the country, even the world, for some of the best live music. Get out around your community and see a live concert, even if it’s just for a short period of time. Go with a group of friends or organize a group yourself from a local support group. If you’re a Baton Rouge resident, go check out the Live after Five during the months of April and May. The Belle Casino and Hotel offers free music events on Friday evenings as well.
- Visit the Library: Your community library has free resources to enrich your life, and typically, not just books. Most libraries have programs to borrow CD’s, books on tape, or movies. Find a book topic that interests you or browse through the aisles until something strikes you. Make a habit of going once a week.
Getting out into the community to connect with what is available is a great way to start using small steps in taking back ownership of your life. Rather than allowing a disease to control you, you can work towards controlling it. Faithfulness with a few small things is, in reality, a very big thing.