Mental Illness Awareness Week falls on 2-8th October 2022, followed by the World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2022. As we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the global pandemic, its impact on our mental health continues to take its toll.
According to Mind HK, 1 in 7 Hong Kong people suffer from a common mental health disorder, in addition, up to 1.7 million Hong Kong people have a diagnosable mental health condition.
Being aware of the depressive and anxiety symptoms is one way of detecting mental health problems. Here are a few screening questions for depression and anxiety conditions: Over the last two weeks, if you have been feeling down, depressed or having little interest in doing things for more than half of the week, this indicates you may need a further assessment for depressive symptoms. Over the last two weeks, if you have been feeling nervous or unable to control your worries for more than half of the week, that may mean you need a further assessment for anxiety problems.
Another way to promote early detection is to be aware of the impact mental health conditions can have in our daily lives. This can include our role in our family, social life, intimacy and workplace.
When we are depressed, we may feel disconnected with our family members, shutting our doors and blocking any communications. Some may feel guilty for disappointing their family members, or feeling that they are being a burden to the family. On many occasions, some may even refuse help from family members so as to not burden them even more.
It also creates stress on our social life as well. We may overthink how our friends perceive us in social situations, which may affect our ability to stay calm and carry on with conversations. If we feel depressed, being in social situations may drain us of our energy. We may easily feel burnout yet we feel we need to mask ourselves as “okay” to not ruin the atmosphere. Our mood may just stop us from being present with our friends, making us feel disconnected.
In our romantic partnership, we may either withdraw and become distant or become overly dependent on our partners. When we are depressed or anxious, it may also affect our ability to manage the conflicts, rejections and negotiations. We may also notice the changes in our desire for physical intimacy. If we do not communicate well with our partners, our mental health conditions may take a heavy toll on our romantic relationship.
As you may imagine, being present at work when we feel depressed or anxious can be really a challenge. Our mood may also undermine our resilience and ability to cope with a reasonable amount of work stress. We may feel easily irritable when work is not progressing the way it should, or we may feel hypersensitive to criticisms or constructive suggestions.
As you may be aware, the impact of our mental health condition can affect multiple areas in our daily life. Being sensitive and being aware of the small changes in our daily lives is often the first step in recognising and seeking help. Moreover, we shall pay attention to not only ourselves, but also to our loved ones, such that we can seek help at the earliest convenience. Help is always available, as long as we stay connected with each other.
If you are interested in scheduling a session with Dr Melissa Chan or have further queries, please contact us today.
Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. The Patient Health Questionnaire-2: Validity of a Two-Item Depression Screener. Medical Care. 2003;41:1284-92.
Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB, Monahan PO, Löwe B. Anxiety disorders in primary care: prevalence, impairment, comorbidity, and detection. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:317-25.