NAPLES, Fla. — For Mental Health Awareness Month, Fox 4 is focusing on the differences between anxiety and depression.
“Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health challenges," Jessica Liria, the Community Outreach Specialist for the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health in Naples, said.
She said many times, people try to brush them under the rug, only for it to impact other parts of their lives like work, relationships, and their purpose.
“And it just becomes kind of this snowball effect,” Liria said.
She said many times, anxiety and depression can be a package deal.
“60 percent of individuals with anxiety also struggle with depression," she said.
And while anxiety and depression are similar, it's important to know the differences.
“Depression is more of rooted in that feeling of sadness. So where anxiety is a little bit more in that fear and that worry of maybe what is to come, depression oftentimes can be not feeling satisfied with the present, or maybe having some unresolved issues or trauma from the past that's leading us to not be able to move forward and be present, and look towards that future," she said.
Liria said the first time someone feels anxiety can be scary.
“It can feel like it's a medical situation. Sometimes our stomach might ache to the point where we think ‘Do I have food poisoning?' Sometimes there's major headaches, migraines. There could be kind of like a cold sweat, there could be a feeling of 'I'm dizzy,' or 'I might faint,'" she said.
Even a heaviness or tightness in the chest, heart racing, and difficulty catching your breath. And spiraling negative thoughts can also come with all of this.
"It might be one very small thing that has started to create that anxiety. And then next thing you know, we've taken it so far above and beyond everything that we were worried about, that now it's ‘How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that?'" Liria said.
But she said when that anxiety builds, we need to take a moment and take a breath, and remember that the feeling of anxiety is temporary.
"So that we can really believe that we're not in danger, were able to get through this,” Liria said.
Mental health struggles like anxiety and depression are becoming more common in kids and teens, so the David Lawrence Centers is offering Youth Mental Health First Aid training on Friday. This training will give you an action plan and build your confidence in helping others dealing with mental health struggles. You can learn how to have the tough conversations and offer support for people in need.
“Even if we’re a parent that says 'My kid is perfectly happy, they’re perfectly content,' they may not be next year. Or maybe they have friends that come to your house and you start to pick up on changes and concerns with the friend. And you can be that trusted person for other kids to turn to and come to," Liria said.
For more information on the virtual training, click here.