Manage your mental health while living with HIV
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Mental health, like HIV, has a stigma around it which can discourage people from seeking care. However, people living with HIV are twice as likely to deal with depression and anxiety than people who are HIV-negative.
Some reasons for the increased risk are:
- Stress around sharing status
- Loss of employment
- Managing HIV medication
- Adjusting to the “new normal” of a positive diagnosis
When your mental health isn’t okay, your physical health suffers. Take control of your mental and emotional health with these tips:
Speak up about changes
Feeling more down or anxious than usual? Tell your provider. Providers can refer you to a therapist or prescribe medication to manage the symptoms of depression.
Stick to a schedule
Taking control of your positive diagnosis means sticking with the best treatment plan for you. Ask friends for reminders. Set alarms on your phone. But don’t neglect your HIV medication.
Regularly taking medication eases the anxiety around your illness because you know you’re taking the proper steps to manage it.
People with depression often suffer from loneliness, but also tend to self-isolate. Dealing with any mental illness is hard if you don’t have a support system.
Reach out to your friends and family or find connections online or through support groups. Connect with our providers to find a support group near you.
You can also build the community. Others in the same boat as you probably don’t know where to turn.
Take care of your body
Don’t stop doing the things you loved before. Find joy in your hobbies or pick up a new hobby! Some easy, free activities to improve mental health include:
- Exercise, even just going for a walk
- Eating well!
Connect to care
You are not alone. The Take Control HIV Community is here to help you thrive. Fill out this form and we’ll connect you to care within 72 hours!