Dear Alex,

I’ve never sent a letter to anyone like this before, so I’m a little bit shy. Much to my chagrin there is a bit of mental health in my family background. I’ve talked to a doctor before in the past but I never followed up. I do believe I have some level of depression. I’m just really not sure what to do with this and where to go from here. I’d really appreciate your professional advice.

~ Anonymous | December 29, 2021

Dear Anonymous,

I commend you for reaching out. Looking to improve your mental health and overall quality of life is something you shouldn’t feel ashamed of. Unfortunately, there is often a stigma associated with seeking mental health support, and because of this, so many suffer in silence when they really don’t need to. Thank you for being the voice for so many others like yourself.

While I am not a licensed therapist or healthcare provider, I am a wellness coach. I’ve highlighted a few points below, which are areas you might want to research, and discuss with your doctor when you’re ready.

Find a Healthcare Provider you Trust - You can talk to your PCP, therapist or even a Gynecologist about feelings of depression. These providers can often provide treatment as well as referrals to a Psychologist in your area.

Gut Health & Nutrition - Discuss with your doctor the correlation between gut health and mental health. You might even consider finding a Naturopath that can run a more detailed blood panel focused on your nutritional intake and specific food allergies. Ask about supplements and vitamins that can impact your overall wellness. I also suggest reading the book, ”This is your Brain on Food’ by Uma Naidoo.

Go for a Walk - This is a great way to get an immediate boost in your mood. Look up the physical effects social interaction and physical activity have on the brain. In particular the “feel good hormones” (dopamine and serotonin). Also look into the relationship between Vitamin D (from the sun) and overall wellness.

Connect with a Friend - Having someone you trust to share with, like a friend, family member, support group or coach like myself, can offer you extra support and accountability when you’re feeling down. 

Ask your doctor about genomic testing for antidepressants - In my experience, clients who have done the genome testing before starting antidepressants, have had greater success with the first medication prescribed.

If you ever want to talk to someone outside of your circle, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Or text HOME to 741741 to chat with someone via text. Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.

Should you have further questions or need help finding resources, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. I wish you the best on your journey to a happier and healthier life.