5 Signs for Recognizing Clinical Depression and When to Get Help

Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, impacts many people across the country. In 2017, more than 17 million adults in the United States struggled with mild to severe depression. Today, we will explore common signs for recognizing depression and how to know when to get help for you or a loved one. Below are some common signs.

5 Signs of Clinical Depression

Clinical depression has the potential to cause significant distress in many aspects of your life if it’s left untreated. It is important to be able to spot the warning signs so that you can receive appropriate treatment for this disorder. Below are some of the moderate to severe warning signs that you should be aware of.

1. You Lose Interest in Pleasurable Activities

You may find that petting your cat isn’t as enjoyable as it once was, or going out to eat doesn’t bring about the same excitement as it has before. Understand that this is a common symptom and challenge yourself to do one thing every day that brings you joy, no matter how small. That can look like taking a bubble bath or watching your favorite TV show.

2. You Have Feelings of Hopelessness and Guilt

You may feel as if you will feel down and sad forever, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Remind yourself that feelings aren’t facts and that they are temporary. Developing feelings of gratitude and thanks can help combat feelings of hopelessness and guilt. Write down 5 things you are grateful for each day. These don’t have to be major things. In fact, sometimes we experience the most gratitude over the small things in life. This can include the warm cup of coffee in your hands, the rays of the sun shining through your window, and the coziness of your bed.

3. You Experience Changes in Energy, Appetite, and Sleep

You may find yourself feeling tired a lot sooner in the day. You may be sleeping past your alarm or having a hard time falling asleep at night. Maybe your appetite has gone away or you find that you are eating more than normal. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to stay hydrated, and keep small snacks nearby if you become hungry.

4. You Have Physical Aches and Pains

You may notice an increase in neck and shoulder pain and other physical pains in your body that didn’t exist before the onset of your depression. Moving your body once a day by stretching and walking may help to reduce physical aches and pains.

5. You Have Thoughts or Intentions of Suicide

Having thoughts about not being alive is common when you are experiencing depression. Practice some self-care activities such as journaling, taking a bath, and reading. Reach out to a friend or a loved one via phone or text so they can help distract you. Think about things that have helped you feel grounded and calm in the past.

When to Get Help

No single factor contributes to the development of clinical depression. Researchers have found that genetics, environment, social stressors, physical health issues, and substance abuse all contribute to the development of depression. If you are experiencing multiple symptoms of depression that have occurred every day for 2 weeks or longer and have tried to manage your symptoms on your own but they persist, it may be time to get help.

Fortunately, depression is treatable and common treatment approaches include therapy and medication or a combination of both. If you are thinking about getting help for your depression or any other mental illness, we at Valera Health are here. At Valera Health, we understand that it can feel intimidating to ask for help. That’s why they offer telehealth services for both therapy and psychiatric services. Mental health conditions like depression shouldn’t be left untreated. Hope and help are available on your personal journey with mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or ADHD.

How to Get Help

If you are thinking about getting help for your mental illness, a good place to start is to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor may be able to provide you with a referral to a mental health professional. If you have insurance, you can also call the number on the back of your card to verify your mental health benefits and determine what providers are covered under your plan. You can also see what insurance Valera Health accepts by requesting a consultation.

If you need to talk to someone immediately, call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-6264 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.


  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml
  2. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression

It’s Time to Normalize Mental Health Care. Here’s Why It’s a Good Idea for Everyone.

The mind and the body are connected. If the mind is unhealthy, it reflects on the body, and vice versa. Dr. Brock Chisholm, the first Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that “without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” As a society, we have seen mental health make its way into our media. Some of our favorite athletes, singers, and actors have bravely discussed their struggles with mental health, oftentimes advocating for therapy, normalizing medication, and encouraging people to seek help for their mental illness.

Impact of Mental Health on Physical Health & Quality of Life

Mental health refers to the state of our mental wellness; mental health is something we all have. Mental illness refers to a mental health disorder such as anxiety and depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults in the United States live with mental illness. Our mental health plays a role in our lives from our longevity, to our vulnerability to contract various diseases, our use of drugs and alcohol, and our ability to thrive in our jobs, at school, and with our families. Below are some statistics that shed light on the strong connection between mental health and our behaviors, physical health, and quality of life.

  1. Half of the people who experience mental illness will also develop a substance use disorder.
  2. People who suffer from depression and schizophrenia, if left untreated, tend to live shorter lives than those who do not suffer from a mental illness.
  3. Depression has been connected to a 50% increase in a person’s risk of dying from cancer and a 67% increase in developing heart disease.
  4. Almost all suicides are a result of mental illness and suicide happens to be the third-leading cause of death for young adults and adolescents.

The Cost of Mental Illness

Mental illness, if left untreated, can contribute to problems with relationships, lost income, suicide, and substance use. Researchers suggests that people experiencing severe mental illness are more likely to receive lower quality medical care, are more likely have chronic medical conditions, and are likely to die prematurely compared to people without mental illness.

Why It’s A Good Idea for Everyone

Consider the physical disease of obesity and how normalized it is in our society. Anywhere you look, you will see advertisements and apps with our favorite celebrities touting their workout routines, meal plans, and supplements all with the goal of helping you lose weight and beat obesity. Imagine what would happen if, as a society, we could normalize mental health in the way that we normalize obesity.

By not talking about mental illness we reinforce:

  • Discrimination.
  • Physical violence, bullying, and harassment.
  • Lack of understanding from friends and family.
  • Health insurance providers not adequately covering mental illness in their insurance plans.
  • Beliefs that people who suffer from mental illness can’t get better and there’s no hope.
  • Fewer opportunities at work and school for people with mental illness.

Many of us already have or will experience a mental illness in our lifetime. Nearly 20% of Americans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives, but less than half will receive the treatment they need.

How To Talk About Mental Illness

It may feel intimidating or scary to talk about your mental health. Those feelings are normal. Consider starting small when opening up a conversation about mental health and communicate in ways that are comfortable to you. This can look like writing poetry, painting, dancing, sending a short email or text to a trusted friend. Set a certain amount of time aside (a half-hour, for example) to talk to someone about your mental health without distractions when you feel comfortable in doing so. It may help to look up some statistics on mental health to help you feel like you are not alone. Finally, get help by talking to a doctor or medical professional about what you are experiencing.

Get Help Today

Mental illness is treatable. If you experience mental illness, getting help and the treatment you need is key in improving your physical health, wellness, and overall quality of life. By normalizing mental health, we can send a message to anyone struggling with mental illness that they are not alone, they are supported, treatment is possible, and there is hope.

We at Valera Health understand that it can feel intimidating to ask for help. That’s why we offer telehealth services for both therapy and psychiatric services. Help is available on your personal journey with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or ADHD.



7 Tips to Avoid Burnout

Simple steps that you can take every day to live a healthier, more balanced life

Burnout is a common term that you have most likely heard of and maybe even used to describe feelings of fatigue and being overwhelmed. Although burnout isn’t a formal mental health diagnosis, it’s been defined as mental and physical exhaustion related to working in the human service and healthcare fields. Today, however, burnout has been expanded to include all types of occupations, as well as other social roles such as being a parent, a spouse, and a caregiver.

Burnout and COVID-19

Burnout is characterized as a state of mental and physical exhaustion and is defined as a psychological problem that is a result of experiencing prolonged and chronic stress in a position or role. Recognizing the common symptoms of burnout can help you determine if you are experiencing this condition. Indicators of burnout include avoidance of following through with your usual responsibilities, chronically feeling as if you are ineffective in completing daily tasks, as well as persistent feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.

There is no denying that COVID-19 has changed our lives.

Studies show increased rates of burnout, particularly among healthcare workers. This is no surprise considering the demands that COVID has placed on our frontline workers. Doctors, nurses, and female healthcare workers seem to report higher levels of burnout.

The demands of COVID have also placed increased pressure and stress on other professions and social roles. Working from home has been a challenge to many who are having difficulty creating boundaries and quickly evolving workflows. Teachers have had to re-invent themselves instantaneously. Parents have had to adapt to adding teachers and tutors to their traditional parenting roles, while in many cases also adding daytime caregivers to their already established responsibilities. Store clerks, business owners, delivery drivers, and warehouse workers have had to continue to show up to work despite feelings of fear, desperation, or other emotions. It is safe to assume that anyone is at-risk for COVID burnout due to the significant changes and stress it has brought to our daily lives

How to Avoid Burnout

As with any mental or physical problem, the sooner you notice it and address it, the better off you’ll be. Burnout is no exception. Whether you have been experiencing burnout for several weeks or months, or you just started noticing symptoms a few days ago, there are things you can do to help reduce and avoid future burnout.

Here are  7 simple steps that you can take to help avoid burnout and live a healthier, more balanced life.

1. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.

To keep your diet on the right track, prep healthy foods ahead of time so that when hunger strikes, you have nutritious options ready and available. We all know what it feels like to be starving in the middle of the day and reach for a bag of chips when we had every intention of making a salad. Have the salad and other healthy options ready to go so that you can empower yourself to make a healthy choice.

2. Exercising regularly.

If you are finding it difficult to start an exercise routine, you are not alone. Start small. Commit five to 10 minutes a day of physical exercise in some form. That can be walking, stretching, or doing yoga. Many of these activities can be done while watching your favorite TV show or listening to a podcast.

3. Making time for self-reflection.

Self-reflection is about tuning into your inner thoughts and feelings. That can mean making time for journaling or meditating.

4. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene and getting adequate sleep.

Make it a point to go to bed around the same time each night. Also, follow a regular sleep routine to help prepare you for sleep which can include taking a shower, washing your face, brushing your teeth, and reading.

5. Engaging in a pleasant activity every day, such as crafting, gaming, or reading.

Having something to look forward to can help you maintain a healthy mood and act as a preventative factor for stress and burnout. All work and no play doesn’t make anyone happy!

6. Strengthening your support system by spending quality time with family members and friends.

A healthy support system can be a key factor in effectively managing stress and burnout. Spend time with people who you love and trust and feel comfortable around.

7. Re-evaluating personal and professional goals regularly.

Create a goal for yourself that is important to you and focus your attention on it when you feel an increase in stress and burnout. Once you have achieved that goal, set another one; if you haven’t achieved your goal, re-evaluate the timeline of your goal and whether it is reasonable to your current circumstances.

Finally, take breaks throughout your day, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we are all in this together, and we made it through a remarkably difficult time by relying on each other and working together. We all need help and support.

If you’re experiencing signs of burnout, you may also want to try Valera Health’s therapy and psychiatric services. Our dedicated coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists will provide a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Get started today and request a consultation online.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911781/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7519601/
  3. https://inside.ewu.edu/calelearning/psychological-skills/preventing-burnout/

Staying Well Through COVID

Maintaining mental wellness throughout this pandemic has proven to be a challenge. COVID has impacted each of our lives in countless ways, and these drastic changes and losses have taken a toll on mental health worldwide. If you’re feeling especially isolated, anxious, angry, or depressed, you’re not alone! It’s normal to feel intense emotions, or even numbness. In this time of severe collective stress, taking steps to reduce stress in our daily lives can help us feel more relaxed and grounded. There are many strategies for staying well during this time, and it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself.

Take care of your body

Our physical wellbeing has a big impact on our mental health. Try to get enough sleep and eat food that makes your body feel good. Make sure to move your body, too, because even a small amount of physical activity can benefit your mental health. Take a walk around your neighborhood, play your favorite music and dance for a few minutes, set an alarm and stretch every couple hours, or do yoga.

Create time for your favorite activities

It’s important to continue doing activities that you love if you’re able to do them COVID safely. Make time for that cooking project, craft, walk, book, phone call, or bike ride.

Stay connected with family and friends

While we may not be able to be physically close with our loved ones, there are many ways to stay in touch while socially distant. Call or video chat with individual friends and family, or set up a group video call to check in with each other. Try new ways of virtually spending time together, like watching a movie with friends through a streaming watch party. If it’s not too cold, take a socially distanced walk with a friend.

Take a break from the news

While it’s important to be informed, constantly hearing about the pandemic and other crises takes a toll on our mental health. Take a break from consuming news, including news stories on social media. Disconnect from your screens for a little while each day and try a short breathing or meditation exercise.

Practicing Mindfulness: Mindful Observing

When it comes to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it can be easy to begin moving on autopilot. While there’s nothing wrong with relying on routines, taking a moment to pause and recenter is an excellent way to break up that monotony and make yourself fully experience the present moment you’re in. If you’re looking for a way to do that today, take a few minutes to try the following Mindful Observing exercise. This is an especially useful practice for people who may not find meditation or visualizations particularly calming. All you need to complete this practice is a window with some kind of a view!

Step 1

Find a space at a window where there are things to be seen outside. This can be a view of anything, whether it’s your backyard, your office window, or even just the street in front of your house.

Step 2

Slowly take in everything there is to see. If you can, try to move away from the normal way you might categorize what you’re looking at. For example, instead of thinking, “bike, tree, mailbox”, try to notice the colors, the textures, the way objects are connected with each other, how they interact, or don’t.

Step 3

Pay attention to the small details, the millions of different things present in this tiny segment of the world you’re looking at. If possible, try to see things from the perspective of someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the scene you’re looking at. What might they be thinking?

Step 4

Take note of the interplay between movement and stasis. What does the grass look like as it’s swaying in the breeze. How do the parts that move interact with more stationary objects? Are there dynamic aspects– people, animals, or vehicles moving through space? How do they change it?

Step 5

Try to simply observe, instead of making a value judgement on what you’re seeing. If an aspect of your scene is beautiful to you, ask yourself why. Is it its shape, its movement? If something is ugly to you, try to do the same thing. Take the scene as it is. 

After 5-10 minutes of this, slowly refocus your awareness on whatever you were doing before the practice. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself looking at it with a refreshed pair of eyes!