LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — An alarming report is revealing a troubling new reality in the mental health crisis gripping the United States. A recent Gallup poll shows depression rates are skyrocketing, with 1 in 6 adults saying they’ve been diagnosed with the disorder at some point.
That same poll shows women and young adults are some of the hardest-hit groups. According to the poll, the rate of depression in women rose almost 6% since 2017 and rose only 2% in men in that same time frame.
Sarah Yonce is a Lynchburg woman, who was brave enough to share her mental health journey with WFXR, in the hopes of helping others.
“About a year ago I lost my daughter to CPS here, I was not from here, but it was the best thing because I didn’t have family. It was a very big mental health struggle but at the time you don’t want to admit it,” said Yonce.
Yonce has been a patient at Horizon Behavioral Health for the past year. She said as much as she wanted to fake a smile and pretend everything was okay, she knew she had to make a change.
“In those types of situations, you don’t want to ask for help, you’re scared that people are looking at you in certain ways and judging you, but you can’t get the help if you don’t ask for it,” said Yonce.
She said with the help of therapy, medication, and hard work, she is proud of how far she has come.
“Here I am a year later, I have a house, I have two jobs, I have a car, I’m stable and she gets to come home soon,” said Yonce.
However, mental health looks different for everyone. A licensed therapist with Horizon Behavioral Health, Shiloh Martin, shared a few signs that someone may be struggling.
“Low motivation, low energy, not wanting to do things that somebody would typically want to do, and just overall a lack of interest,” said Martin.
Martin said the Covid-19 pandemic played a huge role in increasing depression, due to the isolation of the lockdown. She said if you are worried about a loved one, the first thing you should do is let them know you are there for them.
“Somebody that is experiencing low motivation, not wanting to do things, they’re not going to be like ‘Oh, this is what I need’ and come up with a list. So, just letting somebody know that ‘I’m here for you, I see you,” said Martin.
Martin added that mental health is complex and can be overwhelming, she encourages people to always reach out to a professional for help.
A few women who were attending a support group at Horizon Behavioral Health, share their messages of hope to anyone struggling.
“There are days where you might feel like life is not worth living, life is always worth living no matter what,” said Shanika Coles.
“I have to take care of me, to take care of my children. If I don’t take care of me, I cannot take care of them,” said LaToiya Jackon.
“You matter, just always know you matter,” said Katelyn Windsor.
“You got this, you can do this, you just got to know that,” said Yonce.
Martin emphasized the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health, she said that while everyone is going through something different, you are never alone in your fight.
If you or a loved one may be having a mental health emergency there is a national 24/7 hotline that can connect you to help. Just call or text 9-8-8 for immediate assistance.