Anxiety & Depresson


What is depression?

Feeling sad is an emotion all humans feel at one point. Depression is much more than feeling sad and can affect every aspect of an individual’s life. Depression effects a person’s thoughts, behaviors, and their social interactions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) approximately 17 million adults and 3.2 million children (ages 12-17) have had at least one major depressive episode in 2017.

Symptoms of Depression

Feelings of:                

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Wanting to die    

Loss of interest in

  • Seeing friends
  • Engaging in activities
  • Self-care
  • Maintaining hygiene

Changes in:

  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Concentration
  • energy levels
  • Work ethic

These symptoms are extremely hard to cope with and can have devastating effects if left untreated. Depression affects not only the life of the individual but for their friends and family. It can be very painful to see a love one struggle and feel helpless. Depression is treatable, getting connected to treatment and having a great support system.

What is anxiety?

We all experience anxiety from time to time, which can be beneficial depending on the circumstance. If there is a big exam coming up, anxiety may make us study harder; when we have huge decisions (e.g. picking a college to attend, buying a car) anxiety can help us contemplate the outcome instead of acting impulsively. Though anxiety can help us, having too much anxiety can become overwhelming. Anxiety can make everyday tasks feel impossible to accomplish.

Symptoms of Anxiety


  • Increased heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating/feeling hot


  • Excessive worrying
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Rumination
  • Irritability
  • Poor memory


  • Avoidance behavior
  • Obsessive or compulsive behavior
  • Fear of leaving your home
  • Distress is social situations
  • Phobic behavior

Anxiety disorders effects 18.1% of the population (40 million adults) across the United States, making it the most common mental illness in people 18 years or older. Roughly 2.5 million children (7.4% of children ages 3-17).


Mental health and the disabled community

Everyone can experience mental health illness though individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities are at higher risk. A study published in 2020 states that about 17.4 million adults with a disability experience mental distress (defined as 14 out of 30 mentally unhealthy days) 4.6 more often than individuals that do not have a disability. According to the study, adults with disabilities report experiencing anxiety and depression more often than those who do not have a disability.

The study found that having access to care (for mental or medical health) and not being able to afford care were contributing factors that increased mental distress.

Where can I apply for health care?

  • Check out the Medicaid & Children’s Health Insurance Program’s (CHIP) website to see if you qualify.
  • If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you can apply for low cost on the Marketplace.
  • You can also check to see if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income.
  • Medicaid programs have been expanded, so if you have been denied before, you may qualify now.

Fact vs Fiction

Fiction- Children cannot have mental health issues

Fact—Children can show signs of mental illness. Half of all mental disorders produce symptoms in children before they are 14 years of age. Early intervention can help.  

Fiction- People with a mental health diagnosis cannot work, have a family, or enjoy life.

Fact—Most people with a mental health condition can live an extremely fulfilled life with the right support and treatment.

Fiction- Only people who are weak have mental health struggles.  

Fact—anyone, regardless of income, social status, education, or ethnicity can struggle with mental illness.

Fiction- People who are depressed/anxious can “snap out of it.”

Fact—People with depression or anxiety need mental health treatment, just as someone with a broken arm needs medical treatment. Telling someone to “snap out of it” invalidates how they feel and can even make them feel worse. Depression and anxiety are not a choice.

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