How to Bolster Mental Health Defenses

teens helping in community garden The coronavirus pandemic has accounted for a steep increase of self-reported and professionally diagnosed mental health disorders, one of which being clinical depression. Since the start of the pandemic, reports of depression have tripled—in Maryland alone, 1.5 million people reported struggling with depressive symptoms.

Oleg Tarkovsky, Director of Behavioral Health Services, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, recently authored an article that details the symptoms of depression and how to address changes in your mental health to bolster defenses against preventable depressive episodes that may require treatment and intervention.

“Depression is a mental illness, a diagnosable mental disorder, impacting around 8% of the population. Like handwashing can help prevent us from catching colds, good mental health habits reduce our risk of developing mental illness.”

Oleg Tarkovsky, Director of Behavioral Health Services for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Tarkovsky explains that healthy mental health habits, specifically our social habits, can improve health outcomes. The pandemic has made it harder to connect with those around us, but there are still ways to be social while socially distant:

  • Keep in touch with friends, family and coworkers. For humans, connection is inevitably rewarding.
  • Care for others for a positive well-being boost.

“Even people with good mental habits can succumb to depression or mental illness. Good mental health habits can reduce, but can’t eliminate, the risks of mental illness. Depression is not a fault or a shortcoming: It is never your fault,” says Tarkovsky.

Reach out to family and friends for support or seek the services of a behavioral specialist. No one needs to tackle a mental illness alone.

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