Focus at Four: Mental Health Awareness Month

In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month, local people speak out about their respective struggles with postpartum depression, anxiety, or addiction.

Postpartum depression affects mothers soon after the birth of their children. The Mayo Clinic describes common postpartum struggles as “mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.”

Postpartum depression is when these symptoms last longer than a couple weeks and become more severe.

Anxiety is also a common and often undiagnosed disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can range from mild symptoms of feeling nervous to full-scale anxiety attacks of trembling and hyperventilation.

Jody Schulz is the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness of the Brazos Valley. She’s seen the effects of anxiety on young family members. Schulz stresses that rationality is not a cure for anxiety—sufferers are usually not in full control of their emotions and physiological symptoms. When that happens, professional help is necessary.

Addiction often occurs in conjunction with other mental health issues, or is considered a mental health disorder on its own. “When you're addicted, you're not able to control your drug use,” explains the Mayo Clinic, “and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.”

If you are experiencing your own struggles with your mental health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of the Brazos Valley is here to help. For NAMI’s hotlines and resources that can help you cope and seek treatment, see the Related Links below.

If you are thinking of hurting yourself or others, call 911 immediately.