Dr. Sarah Johnson |Your mental health can’t be put on hold. Your life depends on it.

By Sarah Johnson, MD

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new epidemic is running rampant in America. Depression, anxiety, and addictive disorders are reaching all-time high rates. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, one in five people live with a mental illness.

Many people live with depression or anxiety daily and do not realize that they are suffering from a very treatable condition.  Most people with these conditions go to work or school, and may have little interference in daily life, especially in early phases. Some of the early warning signs of mental health problems may include:



-sleep problems- too much or too little

-more aches and pains than usual

-difficulty paying attention

-increase in substance use

-changes in eating behaviors- too much or too little

-not finding joy in life

If you feel that you are in need of a mental health check, one of the most important things that you can do is talk to your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible. They may recommend counseling or lifestyle changes as a first step in feeling better.  

There are also many medications that treat mental health conditions. Although it is important to know that there is no “magic pill”. Some changes that you can implement in your life to promote mental wellness may include:

-prioritizing adequate sleep and rest

-eating a healthy diet

-avoiding or reducing alcohol intake

-setting limits with demands on your time from friends and family

-practicing self-care

-reducing stress

-prioritizing spirituality

Seeking a support group

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, help is available. Health insurance plans cover mental health services, and many providers offer sliding scale or other discounted services to make treatment more affordable for people who may not have insurance. Telehealth became more widely available during the pandemic, and help is often available at your fingertips from any smartphone or technology device.