Depression is not a joke. It can affect a person’s way of thinking, behaving and feeling. Although the condition is primarily blamed on the lack of certain chemicals or neurotransmitters in the brain, it is actually very complex and can be caused by stressful life events, medications, health problems and family history.
A person who is depressed may feel sad, lose interest or pleasure in things he normally enjoys, change in appetite resulting in either weight gain or weight loss, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, lose energy or experience fatigue, waste time in purposeless activities, feel worthless or guilty, have difficulty thinking or concentrating and worse, depression may lead to suicidal tendencies.
As mentioned, stressful life events increase the risk of having depression. In fact, in a recent study, researchers found that the number of depressed Americans tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the time before it occurred. The study revealed that the prevalence of depressive symptoms in the U.S. reached 27.8 percent during the pandemic, compared to only 8.5 percent before. According to the researchers, the causes of the significant increase in depressed Americans are lower social resources, lower economic resources and greater exposure to stressful events, such as job loss.
Prepping for depression
Stressful events increase the prevalence of depression. But even before disaster strikes, some people already suffer from mental health problems and need antidepressants. According to statistics, over 42.3 million people rely on anti-depressant medications — and this was way back in 2017. With the pandemic, there could even be more people taking these drugs for their mental health. The problem is, after a disaster, there could be a shortage of these drugs.
As a prepper, you should be wary of the possibility that either you, or one of your family members, or a part of your survival group may experience depression after SHTF. Yes, mental toughness is a must for preppers, but no one is invulnerable to depression. Along with your preparations for disasters and other SHTF-like events, be ready to deal with or prevent depression.
When prepping for your food supply, make sure to include foods that are good for the brain, such as wild meat or fish, pastured meats, canned sockeye salmon, canned herring, canned sardines, canned oysters, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, lard, eggs, dark and leafy greens, canned olives, mushrooms, nuts, sunflower seeds and berries. Make sure the foods in your stockpile have a long shelf life.
As for supplements, choose those that provide vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, vitamin B6, niacin, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. (Related: Nutrients and brain health: Which ones are great for improving mental health?)
In addition, since it is a must for preppers to learn how to grow their own food, make sure to plant herbs that are beneficial to mental health. Some examples of these are St. John’s wort, catnip, valerian and mugwort. These herbs can be consumed as supplements, but catnip and mugwort can be steeped into a tea.
Catnip helps a person to function without falling asleep. Valerian is a sedative that has muscle-relaxing properties. Mugwort also helps those who have insomnia, while St. John’s wort helps people with anxiety. (Related: Many invasive plants have medicinal benefits)
Fight depression even before SHTF
Your mental toughness will be challenged during difficult times, but it can be cultivated before SHTF. Some of the things you can do to build mental strength is to stay connected with important people in your life. Practicing meditation or yoga also helps. Always aim to get good-quality sleep and eat a nutritious diet. Exercise regularly and get enough exposure to sunlight. Lastly, if necessary, seek professional help.
Visit Mental.news to learn more ways to support your mental health.