Like Billy Joel’s song, “I’m in a New York state of mind,” mood is a state of mind. Our thoughts, experiences, environment, impressions, memories, or old, current, and perceived future thoughts help define our mood. There are times we are happy, sad, angry, sleepy, frustrated, energized.
Some of us experience prolonged stress, anxiety, or depression. We can categorize these as mood dysregulation and mood disorders. These and other mood disorders can disrupt an individual’s daily life and at times seem an unbearable burden.
Today, society has a better understanding and awareness of mood disorders and mental health. However, it is still stigmatized. Do we have a better grasp and appreciation of mental health challenges? Individuals who suffer from mood disorders often feel damaged, at fault, and even shamed.
A couple of years ago, I participated in an online #22PushupChallenge to raise awareness of the 22plus veterans who commit suicide every day in the United States. I thought I knew quite a bit about mental health. However, as I researched a new piece of information to share each day during the challenge, I quickly learned there was a lot more I could do to understand better and support individuals experiencing mental health challenges.
Estimates suggest 1 in 5 adults (18year old or older) has a mood disorder. The severity of the mental illness varies from mild to severe. There are over 130 suicides in America each day. Adults are not alone. A staggering number of children, some statistics suggest 20 percent or more, ages 3-17, suffer from mood disorders (including anxiety, ADHD, behavior problems, and depression). You or someone you know, a relative or neighbor, maybe struggling to support themselves or to support a loved one.
Individuals with mood disorders benefit from having a network of people and integrative treatment modalities. Often, a toolbox of resources helps to best support the individual.
Functional & integrative nutritional and lifestyle modalities are in my wheelhouse. Nutrition and lifestyle support offer significant contributions to individuals struggling with mental health challenges. Tools such as balancing one’s diet, correcting nutritional deficiencies, implementing mindfulness, movement, and supporting sleep management skills help individuals with mood regulation and add to the individual’s self-empowerment toolkit. However, they work best when there are other layers of support in place.
Therapy plays a critical role in ensuring up the individual’s ability to cope, understand, and learn to thrive. Emotional regulation techniques such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) teach the individual self-empowerment skills for recognizing, defusing, and growing as they journey through their experiences.
There are crisis support networks and hospitals that have trained professionals on hand to help in emergencies.
As with other disorders or diseases – a multidisciplinary approach drawing on more tools to layer-in support offers the individual the best help.
Just like a marathon runner cross-training (supporting strength, stretching, mindfulness, nutrition, and sleep) to run their fastest, mental health wellness is supported best with a holistic approach.
Continue to grow your toolbox of understanding, information, and resources so that you can help yourself and others you may know who suffer from depression. Just like any other service you select, fit matters. Ask healthcare providers, family, and friends for referrals. Practitioners can be a great or not-so-great fit. Interview the practitioner and make sure they are experienced working with mood disorders.
Let’s do the best we can do for ourselves, the ones we care for, and others. Learn more about mental health, grow your resources, educate yourself and others, and learn how to best support those in need, especially those in crisis; and reach out, so they recognize you as a source of support and information.
What can you do:
-If you are struggling with a mood disorder and don’t have a strong network, ask for help. Talk to a family member, friend, or healthcare provider (better yet, all three if possible) and start building a support network and plan for now and moving forward.
-Seek support in community resources – coaches, teachers, other family members, friends, professionals.
-Learn to assess and enhance your communication skills so that you know how to listen, and they know you are listening.
-Seek professional support trained in helping this population.
Interview the professional, just as you would interview any other service provider, to see if they are a good fit for you.
-incorporate support aids (mindfulness, breathing, movement/exercise, balanced quality nourishment planning, and art mediums such as music, poetry, or dance).
-Grow your education & knowledge skills so you can help yourself or loved ones struggling with mental health issues.
If you or someone you know is in crisis
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) | website
Veterans in crisis, press “1” to be directed to local VA resources
Deaf, hard of hearing TTY and chat options here
En Español, call 1-888-628-9454
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741-741 | website