Led by STHS Behavorial’s Outpatient Services Director, the presentation highlighted the signs and symptoms of depression, as well as treatment option

No one is immune from depression. It’s the leading cause of disability for people ages 15 to 44 in the U.S., according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America — affecting people of all backgrounds — and may be caused by a number of factors, such as a traumatic or stressful event, substance use, chronic illnesses and more. 

All too often, people ignore their symptoms of depression. If left untreated, whether through medication, forms of therapy or an inpatient program, depression can begin to take a toll on one’s physical health and negatively impact their career and relationships.

Speaking up and seeking help when dealing with depression is not a sign of weakness — just the opposite. By getting depression under control, people not only help themselves but are in a better position and state of mind to help others.

As part of its mission to break the stigma surrounding mental health in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas Health System Behavioral provides educational trainings and presentations to schools, companies and organizations interested in learning more about mental health-related issues.

On Monday, March 14, South Texas Health System Behavioral Outpatient Clinic Director Shelly Cox, MS, LPC, visited the Hidalgo County District Clerk’s Office to talk about depression, as well as suicide prevention, to 75 employees.

“Rates of depression have steadily climbed throughout the years, and the pandemic has caused a significant   spike,” Cox said. “Despite how common it’s becoming, it’s not often openly talked about. There is no shame in being depressed, but it can become dangerous if left untreated.

“Recognizing the signs and knowing about treatment options and local support available is crucial to reducing one’s risk of suicide and improving their quality of life.”

During the interactive hourlong session, Cox addressed  employees’ questions and directed them to appropriate resources. The session was an initiative of the Hidalgo County Wellness Program, a department of the county’s human resources department that aims to improve the quality of life for county employees by promoting the importance of prioritizing your health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Whether it’s nutrition, physical activity, mental health — we want to make sure we address each aspect of wellness for our employees in the most balanced approach,” Hidalgo County Wellness Program Coordinator Diana Salinas said. 

STHS Behavioral offers inpatient, outpatient and specialty programs for individuals from the ages of 3 and up, as well as 24/7 free, confidential assessments. To learn more about these services or request a mental health training, visit STHS Behavioral or call 956-388-1300.

About South Texas Health System 

South Texas Health System is a multi-hospital health care system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four hospital campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral Health campus location. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, a specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information on the system, please visit www.southtexashealthsystem.com.

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.