Shoutout to Mental Health Influencers!

During COVID-19, the country observed an unprecedented spike in depression. Before the pandemic, less than 1 in 10 Americans struggled with depression. That number has more than tripled, numbers now indicate that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from depression. Mental health care providers and advocates have felt the call to arms, and some of them have taken to social media to offer extra support and normalize getting help.

This new wave of mental health influencers includes Lindsay Flemming, Shani Tran, and Dr. Julie Smith. These women have used their large platforms on TikTok to bring awareness to the realities of mental health, destigmatize it, and offer relatable support to make mental health care providers more approachable.

Lindsay Flemming summed up the mental health experience when she said, “If you had a broken ankle, would it be weak to go to the doctor? No. Would it be weak to put a cast on? No. Mental health and physical health are both equally important.”

We wholeheartedly agree with Lindsay and applaud these women as well as other mental health influencers who surfaced during the largest mental health epidemic in history.

Did you know?

While minorities experience higher risk factors for mental illness, they have lower access to mental health care. Two leading causes of mental health care disparities include economic barriers and prejudice/discrimination. July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, so we’d like to bring awareness to the disparities in mental health care that minorities face.
Socioeconomic Factors

Although over half of uninsured Americans are people of color, they only account for one third of the population. We find that financial stress can be a trigger for depression, anxiety, and even PTSD. Financial stress is something that disproportionately affects minorities, as they are statistically more likely to live near the poverty line.
Prejudice & Discrimination

Additionally, a lack of understanding and discrimination can lead to insubstantial care. Like any other aspect of mental health care, it is important for providers to educate themselves on the different challenges that minorities face.
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Welcome Summer

Summertime is associated with happiness for a reason. During the summer months, people spend more time outdoors with friends and family, which provides two direct benefits. First, spending time with loved ones is crucial to maintaining mental well-being. Secondly, Vitamin D from the sun contains neuroprotective properties.
In-Person Socialization

According to Psychology Today, in-person interaction has been shown to reduce the risk of depression. When someone does not have regular face-to-face time with friends and family, their risk of depression doubles. While keeping in touch with friends and family over the phone and computer is helpful, nothing can beat in-person interaction.
Vitamin D & Depression

There are many benefits of Vitamin D on mental health. In many people with depression, inflammation can be a contributing factor. Vitamin D can counteract inflammation, which can both reduce the risk of depression and help to alleviate symptoms of depression. In addition, Vitamin D helps to balance the area of the brain that regulates the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. At the same time, it also protects dopamine and serotonin levels, which are key to maintaining mental wellness. Overall, the benefits of Vitamin D on mental health should not be dismissed.
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