By Greg Chadwick, Air Force Materiel Command Health and Wellness
/ Published October 13, 2020
The National Institute for Mental Health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder that negatively affects how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, and working.
This is a stressful, uncertain time. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many significant changes to how we live daily life. Social distancing, quarantine, and isolation can be overwhelming and may cause feelings of insecurity, confusion, hopelessness, and, ultimately, depression.
The National Institute for Mental Health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder that negatively affects how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, and working. People who are dealing with depression typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:
We all have days when we feel down, but when the periods of sadness persist and are severe enough to impact daily functioning, it may be time to assess your emotional health by completing a self-assessment. You can take a free, anonymous, and confidential mental health screening today at: myhealth.va.gov. Screening results are educational, not diagnostic, but are provided so participants may find out quickly if a consultation with a mental health professional would be helpful.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, fear, sadness and loneliness. Learning self-care strategies can help you take charge of your life and are good for your mental and physical health. A guiding principle that can help us all cope effectively during this time is to focus on what we can control.
How can you tell when bad days or weeks have turned into a clinical depression that you shouldn’t try to address on your own? A consultation with a mental health professional is recommended when feelings or tendencies have become persistent and have affected you consistently for more than two weeks. Your initial phone call or email doesn’t commit you immediately to treatment, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Getting support plays an essential role in coping with depression. Professional counseling services are available for the AFMC workforce and their families.
Military members can contact their local mental health clinic for services. Military OneSource is another option for military and their families. For more information, call (800) 342-9647 or visit militaryonesource.mil.
Civilian employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling services at (866) 580-9078 or visit the EAP website at AFPC.af.mil/EAP.
For more information on depression education materials, visit USAFwellness.com or contact your local Civilian Health Promotion Services team. Comprehensive information on mental health can be found at the National Institute of Mental Health at: nimh.nih.gov.