World Mental Health Day:
October 10th marks the annual World Mental Health Day, a global initiative that aims to raise awareness about mental health issues. Alongside raising awareness, there is also an advocacy for mental health support and resources. The initiative encourages individuals to seek help when needed and simply lookout for fellow counterparts.
The NHS Institute for Mental Health in England found a prevalence of mental health problems of 40% in Deaf children compared to 25% in their hearing counterparts. Indeed, hearing loss can have a significant impact on mental health, as it can affect one’s ability to communicate with other individuals. With this barrier, one is likely to feel socially isolated, anxious, and even depressed.
Social isolation, Anxiety and Depression:
- Social isolation: When experiencing hearing loss, it can be challenging to efficiently communicate with others. As a result of this, those who have faced such barriers are likely to then isolate themselves by avoiding social situations in order to eradicate any awkwardness or frustration. If one consistently avoids social situations, they are likely to make this a habit and thus something difficult to break the cycle of. Such avoidance can result in feelings of loneliness and can sometimes materialise into anxiety and depression.
- Anxiety: Anxiety is what we feel when worried and on edge. It is a natural human response when we feel under threat. Anxiety can be experienced on different levels, whether that’s through our thoughts or physical sensations. When experiencing hearing loss, it is normal to worry about social situations as one fears missing out on important conversations. This worry and anxiety surrounding social situations can increase stress levels. Over time, this constant worry and anxiety can have negative effects on mental health.
- Depression: Depression is something that can make you feel persistently sad and down for weeks or months at a time. Depression is something that affects around 1 in 10 people over the course of their lives. Depression is another common experience for individuals with hearing loss. Feelings of despair can derive from the social isolation which hearing loss can create. Alongside feelings of despair, those who are experiencing hearing loss can sometimes feel like a burden on others. In turn, this leads to feelings associated with low self-esteem.
If you feel like you are undergoing any symptoms relating to social isolation, anxiety, and depression, here are some links to useful websites that will provide you with the right resources: