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Holiday Stress and You (Dr. Chloe on FOX5)

Holiday Stress and You: My Interview on FOX5 News

Although 1 in every 5 Americans struggled with mental illness last year, psychological issues like anxiety and depression are often kept under wraps — especially around the holidays. This week, I talked with FOX5’s Kerry Drew about holiday stress and what you can do to help yourself or someone you know.


If you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to email me or tweet me @DrChloe_. Wishing you all a healthy and happy holiday season!


ERNIE ANASTOS: We thank you so much for joining us again, of course, and we do appreciate your nice reaction on our positive health series all this week. In just a minute, we’re gonna check top stories for you of the day, but first let’s continue talking about the art of living well. We’ve already covered diet, exercise, and preventative care, so now we focus on good mental health. It’s true that our physical well-being is very much connected to our emotional and mental health. A top psychologist is here tonight with some very important advice for us. But first, Kerry Drew continues our series on The Art of Living Well.

PASSERBY 1: The most difficult think is, like, realizing that it does exist.

KERRY DREW: When we think about health, we don’t always consider mental health.

PASSERBY 2: I think people are uncomfortable talking about it … I think people are embarrassed by it.

KERRY DREW: Experts say mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and panic disorders affect people of all ages, races, religions, and incomes.

PASSERBY 3: People tend to believe that they can handle it themselves, and I think it kind of snowballs.

KERRY DREW: According to a recent report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 1 in 5 American adults — almost 44 million people — had a diagnosable mental illness in 2013.

DR. CHLOE: We certainly know that that number is probably even higher because we know that by the very nature of a mental illness, there’s a tendency to want to keep things inside and not share things and ask for help as much as we often should.

KERRY DREW: Clinical psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael says the stigma associated with mental health issues keeps people from talking openly about it.

DR. CHLOE: People don’t want to necessarily say, “Oh, I’m struggling, oh, you know, all this is going on,” so they keep it inside which actually sometimes makes it fester. It makes things worse.

KERRY DREW: When it comes to the common issue of anxiety, she told us some of the signs to look for.

DR. CHLOE: You can’t stop thinking about something, even when you try, even when you’re out supposedly having fun with your friends, but that topic is still running in the background, and it’s like you can’t turn it off. That would be a sign that you need to maybe get some help.

KERRY DREW: Dr. Carmichael says that depression is also prevalent, especially around the holidays.

DR. CHLOE: People feel like they’re supposed to be having this cookie-cutter perfect holiday experience, and maybe they don’t have family close to them or maybe they’re struggling financially.

KERRY DREW: But what if it’s a friend or family member struggling? Dr. Carmichael says it’s best to talk to them.

DR. CHLOE: Let them know that it’s OK to admit that sometimes you might need a little bit of help. If the person shuts you down, then sometimes it can actually be helpful to share with that person about your own experience and tell them, “You know, if you don’t want help it’s OK, but I have to tell you it hurts me to see you feeling this way.”

KERRY DREW: With mental illnesses, experts say that every case is different, but recovery is possible.

DR. CHLOE: Having the insight and awareness and healthy behavior of seeking support when you need it … it’s actually the best thing that you can do for yourself.