And a Sad New Year?

Submitted by Rienne Schinner MLIS on Fri, 01/17/2020 - 9:28am

The holidays sure bring out the emotions in all of us, right? It’s not uncommon for people to feel anxious or depressed during the holiday season, or even once the holidays are over. After all, maybe we weren't able to see loved ones during the holidays. Or we didn't do everything we hoped or planned to last year. What do we have to look forward to in the New Year? Our resolutions to stop eating sugar? A foot of snow? The shocking reality that we ate too many treats at holiday parties and now our jeans don’t fit?

If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. Annually, anxiety and depression disorders affect 40 million adults, or 18.1% of the U.S. population. ( Commonly diagnosed mental illnesses include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Most importantly, mental health can directly impact our physical health.1 Persons with depression have a 40% higher risk than the general population to develop heart or metabolic disease. If you or a loved one have a severe mental illness, it becomes nearly twice as likely that these conditions will develop.

Mental illness and substance abuse go hand in hand as well, with 19.3% (9.2 million) of American adults with mental illness also having a substance use disorder.

If you’re in high school and have significant depression symptoms, you’re over twice as likely to drop out than a student without depression symptoms.

Caregivers for those with mental or emotional health issues aren’t immune from developing issues themselves. 8.4 million Americans care for an adult with a mental or emotional health issue. These caregivers average 32 hours a week providing care, on top of their own personal responsibilities. 

Our mental health needs to be safeguarded and cared for just as much as our physical health. There are a number of great mental health resources available to help you learn more about anxiety and depression.


The Anxiety and Depression Association of America -

National Alliance on Mental Illness -

MedlinePlus – Mental Health and Behavior Resources -

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) -

Family Caregiver Alliance -

Is it Anxiety or Depression? 



excessive worry   

depressed mood 


No or low interest in activities you used to enjoy

being easily fatigued

 lack of energy 

trouble concentrating

change in appetite


can't sleep, or sleeping all the time

sleep disturbance 

slowing of movement

muscle tension

trouble concentrating 


feelings of guilt or worthlessness 


suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Given the impact mental health has on our physical health, please see your healthcare provider if you are experiencing signs of depression, anxiety, or undue amounts of stress. They can properly diagnose you and can connect you with mental health services. 

NOTE: If you feel like you may harm yourself or others, please call 911 immediately for emergency help! 

If you or a loved one is suicidal OR in severe emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat


1. National Association of Mental Illness. Mental Health by the Numbers. Accessed 12/27/2019 at


Please note that the comments/text posted by the author in this blog post do not reflect the opinions of her employer.