From Your CRIT Counselor: Mental Health Awareness

Many adults are part of the “sandwich generation.” They are caring for elderly parents and young children. The challenge of balancing caregiving responsibilities and additional work and life activities can lead to high stress and anxiety levels.

Being a caregiver can be a loving and rewarding experience but also overwhelming and exhausting. A 2020 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 32.9% of unpaid caregivers surveyed displayed symptoms of anxiety, depression, or substance use within the 30 days before the survey. Of the respondents who were not caring for older family members, only 6.3% stated having mental health concerns. The study also indicated that 30% of individuals surveyed who were unpaid caregivers had fleeting suicidal ideations. That was ten times more than people who were not caregivers.  

It is essential to take care of our emotional and mental health as much as our physical health. As a caregiver, taking care of yourself is a priority. These are some things that can be done to alleviate the stress and decrease feelings of depression or hopelessness:

  • Develop a support system of family, friends, and community resources.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Start a hobby.
  • Get regular medical check-ups.
  • Ensure that you are eating properly and getting enough rest.
  • Seek a mental health therapist. 

Mental health is a serious concern in our society. Speaking about suicide or suicidal ideations is not an easy topic. If you notice that someone is isolating, giving away prized possessions, or making comments such as, “I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up” or “when I’m not here, things will be better,” ask them if they are thinking about ending their life. I know it is a difficult question, but it is worth asking. One resource is the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Please keep this number. Someone you know may need it one day.