By Stephanie Stanavich
Suicide in the United States is the 10th leading cause of death, with 121 suicides per day. Depression and anxiety have been researched as a contributor for higher risk of suicide within the past years.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 44,193 Americans die by suicide every year.
The foundation, established in 1987, is a health organization that helps fund scientific research, educates the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocates for public policies in mental health and prevention and supports survivors of suicide loss and those affected by it.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America spoke with Mark Pollack, the previous ADAA president, Grainger Professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.
According to the association, Pollack said, “More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable illness such as clinical depression, and often in combination with anxiety.”
Jasmine, YSU student, requested for her last name to be anonymous while sharing her experience with depression and anxiety. She struggles with both mental disorders on a daily basis.
“There have been times where I had to go to the hospital because my heart was racing so fast,” Jasmine said. “Once when I went, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, and with all of that going on, I became more depressed.”
She said having depression and anxiety make it impossible some days to live a normal life and any little thing can trigger her thoughts to turn negative.
“Depression makes me feel isolated, I don’t want to be around anyone and I feel like I’m in competition with everybody and everything,” Jasmine said. “One minute I’m feeling fine, then someone could just look at me the wrong way or say something and it changes my whole mood.”
Mindy Morrow, an adjunct professor for NEOMED, sees patients through a local walk-in medical clinic. She said depression and anxiety are multifactorial disorders.
“They are due to a chemical imbalance in the brain related to serotonin, dopamine and various other chemicals that air in stabilizing mood,” Morrow said.
Morrow said, if untreated, severe anxiety or depression could lead to being hospitalized and self-medicating behaviors such as the use of drugs, food, alcohol and sex to make you feel good and death.
“Anxiety is nervousness, the inability to try new things due to fear, tearfulness, overwhelming fear of the unknown and difficulty concentrating,” Morrow said. “Depression is feelings of inadequacy, lack of desire to do everyday things, difficulty maintaining close relationships with family or friends, constant sleeping, nausea or pain and sadness.
Her advice for people with these symptoms would be to go to a primary care provider and tell them what is going on. Morrow said there are several ways to aid depression and anxiety, which may be medications, counseling or making lifestyle modifications.
Jamie Marich is a licensed professional clinical counselor and supervisor in the State of Ohio; Mindful Ohio & The Institute for Creative Mindfulness. Her private practice has professional trainings for mental health and human services professionals in trauma-focused therapies and expressive arts therapy.
“Unhealed depression and anxiety can keep us from living our lives to our fullest potential for happiness and wellness,” Marich said. “When we go through life with untreated depression and anxiety, it’s like walking around with unhealed wounds that are bleeding.”
Marich’s expressive arts therapy is a method that uses dance and movement, visual arts, writing, music, meditation and other creative ways for people to express what they’re holding on to inside.
Her practice also uses an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, she said.
“EMDR is one of the most researched and cutting edge treatments for trauma/PTSD that literally helps people access the part of their brain that holds trauma or stress,” Marich said. “[It] is also part of the brain that words can’t get to easily.”
She said leaving depression and anxiety untreated may put others at risk to being contaminated.
“For me, so many of the problems in our world trace to a well-known axiom that hurt people,” Marich said. “Healing ultimately is good for us, our communities and the world.”
Counseling is also an option that many people can seek when trying to heal their depression or anxiety. Deirdre K. Adduci is the owner of Restoration Counseling, LLC. Adduci said she opened her counseling center in July and was previously a clinic director at two different mental health and addiction treatment centers.
“I recommend exercise to all of my clients, with the clearance of their family physician, to help ease their symptoms and to recover dopamine lost to these symptoms,” Adduci said.
Adduci said she usually sees over 100 clients per month.
“I think we recognize depression and anxiety more now with people being more aware of the symptoms through social media and counseling being more accepted,” Adduci said.
Another way to heal depression and anxiety, that is now becoming more known and suggested by doctors, is yoga. Yoga is Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline that includes breath control, meditation and body postures.
Hailey Cassidy, a Youngstown State graduate, said she started practicing yoga in high school.
“I would go to school, come home to do homework or hangout with friends, repeat, which means I never got my heart rate up enough to come close to what a workout would be,” Cassidy said.
The reason she became consistent with practicing yoga was all because of one class.
“During a healthy lifestyle class, we had to fill out a personal health survey and mine was way off balance. I have always eaten well and being thin runs in my genes, so I thought of myself as a healthy person,” Cassidy said, “When the piece of paper I filled out showed me how physically unhealthy I really was, I was not only shocked, but embarrassed.”
She not only used yoga as a way to become healthy physically, but she said it helped her mentally.
“Yoga is healing in so many ways and is something very special that allows you to use your physical body in ways that release tension, relax your mind and body, and relieve pain,” Cassidy said.
She said during yoga, people laugh and cry because it naturally releases emotions, forcing the mind and body to address what it is feeling or thinking.
Yoga is not a way to escape your problems, but a way to embrace them and work through them, Cassidy said.
“After graduating and working full time in my own business, stress was a huge part of my life,” Cassidy said. “Yoga helps me work through those problems, see things more clearly and not take life too seriously.”
A typical yoga class is anywhere between 60 and 75 minutes long. Yin is a slower practice to feel the moves, quiet the mind and meditate. Vinyasa is the power yoga classes that is very active, fast and athletic. Hatha flow is the basic yoga class that beginners may want to take.
Yoga places also offer hot power classes with temperatures extremely high that will be, in Cassidy’s words, “the most stress relieving.”
With ways to help heal depression and anxiety, Jasmine wants people to know they are not alone. There will be bad times and there will be good times.
“Find something that helps you escape and just breathe,” Jasmine said. “Just like happiness, pain is also temporary and realize that just because you feel alone doesn’t mean you are, there are other people