depression

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When Depression And Cultural Expectations Collide: One Teenager’s Story

Wynne Lee and her mother, Maggie Huang. plan their day over tea on Feb. 6, 2015. The mother and daughter rekindled their relationship after Lee started therapy to deal with her depression. (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

Wynne Lee and her mother, Maggie Huang. plan their day over tea on Feb. 6, 2015. The mother and daughter rekindled their relationship after Lee started therapy to deal with her depression. (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

by Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News

“My time is coming. It’s already time for me to die. I can’t wait. … So yeah I plan to kill myself during spring break, which by the way, starts in two days.”

Wynne Lee wrote that in a March 29, 2012 journal post.Her mind was at war with itself – one voice telling her to kill herself and another telling her to live. She had just turned 14.

She tried to push the thoughts away by playing video games and listening to music. Nothing worked. Then she started cutting herself. She’d pull out a razor, make a small incision on her ankle or forearm and watch the blood seep out. “Cutting was a sharp, instant relief,” she said.

Some days, that wasn’t enough. That’s when she’d think about suicide. She wrote her feelings in a journal in big loopy letters.

At first, Wynne thought she felt sad because she was having a hard 8th grade year. She and her boyfriend broke up. Girls were spreading rumors about her. A few childhood friends abandoned her. But months passed and the feelings of helplessness and loneliness wouldn’t go away.

“I was really happy as a kid and now I was feeling like this,” she said. “It was really unfamiliar and scary.”

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Depression Takes Growing Toll on American Workplace

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

By Lisa Gillespie, Kaiser Health News

For every dollar spent on treating depression, nearly five dollars more is spent on related medical conditions like back and chest pain, sleep disorders and migraines. Depression can also lead to lost productivity, placing a greater financial burden on businesses and the health care system, according to new research measuring the economic impact of depression.

Average worker with major depression loses the productivity of 32 days a year.

“The fact that they’re finding such greater costs with all these different [related conditions] underscores how the fragmented system is not helpful for our economy because people with mental illness are not getting the rounded health care they need,” said Lynn Bufka, with the American Psychological Association, who was not affiliated with the study.

The total cost to the U.S. economy of major depressive disorder rose to $210 billion in 2010, up more than 20 percent from $173 billion in 2008. Continue reading

For Young Mother, Immigration Program Puts American Dream Within Reach

Ayary Diaz (L) says she can finally work to help support her family because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.Ayary Diaz (L) says she can finally work to help support her family because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

San Jose resident Ayary Diaz (L) says she can finally work to help support her family because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Last year the Obama administration passed a law allowing some undocumented immigrants to apply for work permits. As part of our occasional series called “What’s Your Story?” San Jose resident Ayary Diaz talks about how Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is opening doors to opportunities she says she never thought she’d have. We post it here, since there is an intersection between Diaz’ immigration status and her health. The following is a transcript of her first-person radio story.

For 24 years I’ve been forced to live in the shadows because of a choice that was never mine.

I’m an ‘illegal.’ My parents brought me here from Mexico when I was five, and I have been living — undocumented — in the United States ever since. I have two amazing children and a loving fiance but my road has been hard.

I can finally come out of the shadows, stop hiding who I am, and shine in a country that I’ve always considered my home.
When I graduated from high school, I hoped to go to college like my peers. But I needed a Social Security number to apply and, most importantly, to get financial aid. I didn’t have one and began to think that I would have the same poor and unproductive life I’d seen my parents live.

But in 2001, a new California law changed things. Undocumented students could apply to college as California residents if they had graduated high school and had been continuously living in the States for several years. So I went to Foothill Community College and then San Francisco State. It took me eight years, working countless hours as a minimum wage server while going to school fulltime to pay for my tuition in cash. But I had my degree, in international business, the first in my family.

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