Today is World Mental Health Day, a day marked by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness of mental health issues globally and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. At Cystic Fibrosis Canada, we acknowledge that in addition to the major lung and digestive effects caused by cystic fibrosis, CF also impacts the mental health and wellbeing of those with the disease, as well as their loved ones and caregivers. People with CF and their caregivers are two to three times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, or both, compared to people in the general population according to The International Depression & Anxiety Epidemiology Study (TIDES).
Mental health is an integral and essential component of health. It is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities to cope with the normal stresses of life. Adolescents and adults may experience occasional periods of feeling down. For some individuals with a good support network, these feelings can improve. For others, symptoms may occur over prolonged periods of time and feelings of self-doubt and sadness may become overwhelming and can lead to mental illness. It is important to understand that moments of depression or anxiety are normal to experience, however, persistent feelings of depression or anxiety should be treated as part of your overall health and emotional wellness.
When depression and anxiety are left untreated it can take a major toll on one’s physical and emotional health and can interfere with one’s ability to take care of themselves. People with CF who have untreated depression or anxiety:
- Tend to have worse lung function
- Have a lower body mass index (BMI)
- Experience more hospitalizations
- Have more absences from school or work
- Are less likely to manage their treatment plans effectively
- Experience a lower quality of life
Cystic Fibrosis Canada has created a Mental Health 1-pager to provide information on anxiety, depression, possible warning signs, and ways to seek help. It is very important to consult your healthcare provider if you feel you are developing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Download the CF Canada’s Mental Health One-pager:
If you require more information or resources to obtain mental health support, please contact your cystic fibrosis clinic or use Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s information request service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry or by phone at 1-800-378-2233 ext. 403.