FOCUS ON WELLNESS

Don't put off dealing with depression

Here are tips to help yourself—and a reminder that JHU employees have 24/7 access to help through mySupport

Depressed-looking woman

Image credit: GETTY IMAGES

This content is provided to Johns Hopkins employees through a partnership with EHP.

Depression can wear you out at the exact time you need all your strength to fight. Trying to cope is extremely tiring. And it's often difficult to know when others are suffering. That's why, during National Depression Education & Awareness Month, Johns Hopkins is focusing on the illness, which is treatable, and is pointing out that seeking help is a sign of strength.

Depression affects a person emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially, so full recovery will take time. In addition to working with a health care provider for treatment, experts recommend that anyone suffering from the illness take care of their body and soul, and that they be patient with themselves as they get better.

Here are tips and resources for Johns Hopkins employees and family members experiencing depression:

Self-care

The most important thing you can do is address the illness.

  • Educate yourself. Read about treatment and medicine options. If you have the energy, attend local conferences or support groups. Keep a list of useful websites and helpful books and use them as needed. This illness is not your fault. Don't blame yourself for your depression.
  • Manage early symptoms. If you notice symptoms returning, experience triggers, or identify other factors that may lead to a depressive episode, get help as soon as possible. Ask trusted friends and family members to monitor your behavior and let you know if they see anything of concern.
  • Find a provider you can trust. Communicate honestly with that person and share information on your treatment for depression and your reaction to medicines.
  • Be prepared for a crisis, and plan what to do if you experience one. Keep the phone number of a crisis hotline and know the location of your community's urgent care centers and the closest emergency department.
  • Hold off on big decisions. Depression can cloud your judgment, so wait until you feel better before making major life decisions, such as changing jobs, moving, or getting married or divorced.
  • Be patient. Recovering from depression is a process. Don't be discouraged if it takes some time to feel better.
  • Keep it simple. Depression saps your energy and concentration, so you won't be able to do all the things you used to do. Set small goals and do what you can.
  • Be with others. Don't isolate yourself—you'll only feel worse. Take part in fun activities when you can. Go to a movie, ballgame, religious service, or social event. Talk openly with people you can trust. Accept help when it's offered.

Take care of your body

People with depression often lose the desire to take care of themselves, and that only makes their problems worse. During treatment and afterward, make a point to:

  • Exercise. It's a great way to take care of your body. And studies have shown that exercise helps fight depression.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may ease the pain temporarily, but they'll only make your problems worse in the long run.
  • Get relief from stress. Ask your health care provider for relaxation exercises and techniques to help relieve stress.
  • Eat right. A balanced and healthy diet helps keep your body healthy.

Resources available through mySupport

Through mySupport, JHU employees and their household family members have free 24/7 access to confidential counseling and referral services for help with stress at work or at home, emotional distress, a difficult life transition, or other challenges.

When you call mySupport at 443-997-7000, a clinician will listen, provide support, and help you identify resources and next steps. If you choose to arrange a televideo or in-person appointment, mySupport will provide referrals to licensed clinicians in your area.

You and your family members also can opt for an in-person appointment with a member of mySupport's OnSite Clinical Care Team, located on various Johns Hopkins campuses.

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