r By Shannon M. AcorrI think there have been times we have all felt sad, lonely, and perhaps even hopeless. For many, those feelings are situational and as soon as the stressful situation ends so do those dark, heavy feelings. But for many the feelings of sadness linger and become debilitating. The ability to think clearly and rationally disappears. When is the right time to ask for help? There is no correct answer to this question because it is very personal and individualized. What help do I need to feel “normal”? Again, a very individualized question with multifaceted answers.
Over the next several months, it is the desire of the Serve Daily staff to provide some resources and answers to help you answer that question for yourself or perhaps even a loved one you are concerned about. I have been to many mental health trainings and seminars in connection with my job as a Prevention Coordinator and Youth Court Director. It is always interesting that many of these trainings begin with the very basic concepts of health and wellness. I will ask you the same questions that the experts ask at the beginning of their presentations; Are you eating three balanced and nutritional meals a day? Are you getting eight hours of sleep each night? Are you consistently exercising? Are you getting out of your house each day and cultivating healthy relationships? When you can answer “yes” consistently to these questions and your feelings of hopelessness continue it may be time to get additional help.
For many, the first place, due to insurance requirements, is to start with a visit to a primary care provider. Most basic physical exams include mental health screenings. Share with your health care provider what you are struggling with and your concerns. If you do not have a primary care provider may I offer a suggestion? Call 2-1-1 or visit www.211.org. This is a one-stop shop that can assist you in finding resources and help in your community. 2-1-1 is supported by the United Way. It is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Life is never hopeless. By taking small and deliberate steps each day we can strengthen ourselves both physically and mentally.