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Joel Mowrey, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County with Wendy Withey and Janel Koellner of NEOMED at the Mini Med School lecture on the blues and depression.
Joel Mowrey, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County with Wendy Withey and Janel Koellner of NEOMED at the Mini Med School lecture on the blues and depression.

Rootstown – Joel Mowrey, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, was guest lecturer for the February Mini-Medical School session at NEOMED.

Dr. Mowrey discussed the blues and depression. “Everyone feels sad and low every once in a while, but these feelings usually pass in a few days,” Mowrey said. “Many of these ‘blue’ feelings are due to a variety of situations and events that are occurring in our lives, such as day-to-day stress, physical health problems, and normal grief reactions to loss.”

“In contrast, when you have depression, the feelings persist for weeks, months, and even years,” explained Mowrey. “Depression can be very intense and interfere with activities of daily living, such as working, going to school, personal hygiene, and relationships with others.”

Symptoms of depression include feeling angry, irritable, agitated and sad, loss of interest in activities, social withdrawal, and changes in appetite and sleep. These symptoms of depression are experienced by all of us in varying degrees of intensity and impact on our daily lives.

Some of the tips Dr. Mowrey shared for beating the blues include exercising, spending time with others, reframing how the problem is viewed, listening to music, and reaching out to friends and family for help. However, if a person doesn’t feel better after a few weeks, then it is important to seek professional help.

Many times a person suffering from depression may not have the energy to put forth the effort to find help. Depression saps a person’s energy and motivation, so finding help may seem like an overwhelming task. “It’s ok to reach out to your loved ones to ask if they need help, and then encourage them to call their doctor or one of our local treatment services agencies,” said Mowrey.

A person may also be feeling hopelessness that makes them feel there is no point to seeking help as nothing will get better. It is important to never ignore comments about suicide. In fact, it is fine to ask someone if they are feeling suicidal. It is a myth that asking someone about suicide will make them suicidal.

There are two 24 hour local help lines in Portage County, 330-678-4357 for Townhall II and 330-296-3555 for Coleman Access. Access can also see people in person and can arrange for someone to be hospitalized if necessary.

The Mini-Medical school is a series of lectures designed to help Northeast Ohio residents improve their health and well-being.  Attendees have the opportunity to see and hear what goes on every day in NEOMED’s classrooms and research labs with lectures from the same faculty who are on the front lines, teaching students entering the health professions. For more information on upcoming lectures, contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development at 330-325-6460.