By Parrish Medical Group

Life is full of highs and lows. The death of a loved one can cause profound sadness. An overfilled calendar can lead to stress.

Sadness and stress are part of life. Stress can aggravate other conditions and it can also be one of the precipitating causes of depression along with a person’s unique biology. When those feelings become more than you can bear, it may be time to reach out for help. Here’s how to recognize the difference:

Sadness is part of the human condition.

Normal every day ups and downs go away by themselves; whereas, clinical depression gets in the way of a person’s ability to function or enjoy life. Symptoms of depression include persistent sadness, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities and thoughts about committing suicide.

Everyone feels stress at some point throughout the week.

However, if stress is constant or you worry excessively for no reason, you may need to seek help. People with anxiety lack the perspective that stress will pass. They may even opt out of activities because they worry something bad could happen. Symptoms can include feeling sick to your stomach, muscle tension, insomnia and high blood pressure.

Each mental health condition has its own set of signs and symptoms.

In general, however, professional help may be warranted if you or a loved one experiences:

  • Marked change in personality, eating or sleeping patterns
  • Inability to cope with problems or daily activities
  • Strange or grandiose ideas
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Prolonged depression or apathy
  • Thinking or talking about suicide
  • Substance abuse
  • Extreme mood swings or excessive anger, hostility or violent behavior


Parrish Medical Center Chairman of Psychiatry Dr. Louis Joseph is heading up a new method of coordinating mental healthcare by being on staff at the hospital, while also being contracted with Circles of Care three days a week.

Traditionally, there has been a division between medical services and mental health services. The new system helps bridge that gap, Dr. Joseph explains. For Dr. Joseph, his favorite part of the job is seeing people get better and go back to work.

“It’s a milestone to me that matters. If a person is not back as a functional, healthy, happy member of society, then something still needs to be done. It’s those types of goals that we need to focus on,” said Dr. Joseph.

Many people who have mental health conditions consider their signs and symptoms a normal part of life or avoid treatment out of shame or fear. If you’re concerned about your mental health or a loved one’s mental health, don’t hesitate to seek advice.

With appropriate support, you can identify mental health conditions and explore treatment options. “I believe you have to take care of the whole patient,” Dr. Joseph said. “Without mental health, there isn’t health.”

Take the first step and consult a doctor, or make an appointment with a mental health provider, by calling (321) 268-6PMG or visiting