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Editorial: Support each other, offer kindness to all you meet

This past year has been a challenging one for everyone with added stress and obstacles for many to endure during the pandemic. Some who have never experienced mental health challenges may have found themselves struggling for the first time.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 19 million U.S. adults — nearly 8% of the population — have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

While depression can be triggered by a life crisis, physical illness or something else — it can also occur spontaneously, NAMI states. Scientists believe several factors can contribute to depression.

The organization states depression can lead to many symptoms, depending on the person. For most people, it changes how they function from day to day. Possible symptoms include changes in sleep and appetite, a lack of concentration, a loss of energy, a lack of interest in activities, hopelessness or guilty thoughts, changes in movement, physical aches and pains and suicidal thoughts.

While some reach out to family or friends with concerns about their mental health, others may try to hide or brush them aside, and they face their struggles alone.

We want these people to know they are not alone.

There are many resources available at a local and state level, including many compassionate people willing to help in any way they can.

Just as someone would go about seeking care if they had a broken bone or cancer, people must feel comfortable coming forward for care for a mental health concern, too.

In addition to professional care available through a provider, there are also support groups and other resources available through NAMI for both adults and young adults living with mental illness. A list of the support groups can be found at https://namimn.org/support/nami-minnesota-support-groups/.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “MN” to 741741 or call CRISIS (274747) from a cell phone.

Aside from professional care, we can all play a part in supporting each other and offering kindness whenever we can.

Remember, we may never know what others are going through.