If the pandemic taught us anything (and it certainly was an eye-opener about our way of life) it’s that it’s ok to not be ok, as long as you plan to do something about it.
That’s a conversation that was had during week one of the 2021 ESSENCE Fest as part of ESSENCE Wellness House. Dr. Cleopatra Booker, chief clinical operations leader at Optum, and author, speaker and media personality Roxane Battle led an important conversation on Thriving With Anxiety and Depression and ways that the pandemic put the spotlight on mental health.
“Prior to 2020, it was only about 11 percent of Americans that experienced mental health symptoms. We are now up to 40 percent of Americans who acknowledge that they’re experiencing some form of depression or anxiety,” Dr. Booker shared.
She pointed out that women of color with children at home were almost half of the people saying they were experiencing some form of anxiety and depression. Depression, for clarity, is a period of feeling low and not feeling like you can climb out of it. There can be a lack of focus, as well as irritability where you snap at loved ones and more. As for anxiety, it is a strong feeling of nervousness and fear that envelops the person dealing with it. Some people confuse the physical symptoms of it, like their heart racing, with a heart attack.