The recent death of Naomi Judd reinforces the fact that mental illness follows no demographic. That is according to Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Upper Cumberland Director Michael Anderson.
“They’re no respecter of age, race, sex, background, religion or where you live,” Anderson said. “It is something that we are all at risk of and can be treated at any time. It’s just like any other physical illness.”
Anderson said a common perception that he sees is that people believe that depression at an older age is normal. Anderson said instead of accepting the illness, seek treatment.
“What I would say is that depression at any age is very successfully treated when treated,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately when it comes to lose of life from suicide, most of the time folks aren’t engaging in treatment.”
Anderson said beyond that, mental health should not just be generalized to older people. Anderson said depression or anxiety can be found at all ages, even in children as young as 10-years-old.
“It’s kind of painful in ways that mental illness is kind of separated. People tend to think mental health as different then our overall physical health,” Anderson said. “There is no health without mental health. Mental health is just the health that is affected of and by the brain.”
May is Mental Health Awareness month. Anderson said there is always free, confidential help by calling 1-800-273-TALK or text TN to 741741.