Mercy Hospital Cassville’s Senior Life Solutions offers mental health tips

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Topic of the month: managing depression

This month, Therapist Susi Rhoads, MSW, LCSW, of Senior Life Solutions (SLS), shares tips on managing depression. The information is brought to readers by Mercy Hospital Cassville's SLS program.

"When we talk about depression, it can sometimes sound and feel cliché," shares Rhoads. "Everyone gets the blues now and then, but do your blues last for weeks at a time? If so, you may have depression, and you’re not alone.

"According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mood disorders in the United States — about 16.1 million adults experience depression (that’s almost 7 percent). There are also multiple types of depression, including major depression, persistent depressive disorder and bipolar disorder."

Depression can make it difficult to do everyday things, like getting out of bed, taking care of business, going out in public, or concentrating at work.

It can also be incredibly difficult to talk about, making matters worse.

"Those with depression may experience a change in their mood, low energy, and anxiety," Rhoads said. "Maybe one of the hardest battles with depression is that it affects our minds, and as a result, it’s often hard to believe that things will get better in the future. And yet, whether we like it or not, life goes on when we’re depressed. How do we carve out a life for ourselves, a life of purpose even in the midst of depression?"

To combat depression, Rhoads suggests the following tips:

• Step into the now and take things one step at a time. This means focusing our energy and attention on what’s happening right now and trying not to get caught up in the past or the future, which we can’t control anyway. Mindfulness exercises can be very helpful in this regard.

• Schedule your days and break large tasks into smaller ones: Keeping checklists and breaking tasks down into smaller steps when they seem too intimidating otherwise.

Rhoads also shared an inspirational quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Finally, Rhoads suggested reaching out for help when needed.

"If you or someone you know struggles with depression, find a professional to talk with," advised Rhoads. "Here at Senior Life Solutions, we can help you find a way to gain strength, courage, and the confidence to say 'I can do this.' We are an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety often related to aging, and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for older adults."

For information, please contact Mercy Hospital Cassville’s Senior Life Solutions Program at 417-847-6042.

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