Depression and anxiety the most common health conditions in St. Joseph County

The yellow symbolizes brain activity in a normal brain.

It's the season to be merry and bright, but for many in St. Joseph County, that's not the case. Blue Cross Blue Shield did a nationwide health index. It looked at the most common health conditions plaguing each county the insurer had clients.

In St. Joseph County, the most common reason people seek medical help is for depression and other mood disorders.

Amy Rosen is the director of access at Oaklawn Community Mental Health. She said the most calls they get involve depression-like symptoms.

"This isn't just simply feeling down or having a bad day. People are talking about the fact that they are having issues with getting through activities of daily living," she said. "It affects one's ability to love, laugh and live."

Dr. Jagadeesh Reddy, a psychiatrist with Beacon Medical Group specializes in depression. He said it's true, he is seeing more patients, but two groups of patients in particular.

"Lately, I've seen more of a surge in kids, as well as men actually coming out and seeking help," he said.

For men, it could be because the stigma that used to come with mental illness is diminishing.

"The stigma has been reduced," said Rosen. "That gender role belief that you should just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and this too shall pass."

Many attribute the teenage spike in depression to the pressure that comes with being perfect on social medai.

Rosen thought of an example she heard from a young girl just last week.

"She had done something at school that she was embarrassed by, and a person caught it on a cell phone and it was put out on social media. She feels like that's never going to go away," Rosen said.

Dr. Reddy said it's also a possibility that more people are seeking help with their depression because of the advancements in treatment.

"We see people getting better with depression. A lot of people felt helpless about the treatment, as well as the condition. Now, there's an active role of treatment," he said.

Rosen echoed his statement.

"It used to be when you thought about going into therapy, you thought about that Freudian model, where you'd be on the couch for months at a time and that just isn't what we experience," she said.

Both Rosen and Dr. Reddy said that people can take an active role in preventing depressed feelings. Getting enough sleep, taking the time to turn off smart phones, exercising and making sure you're getting enough sunlight.

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