Dr. Shannon answers the Heartland’s mental health questions

Heartland Mental Health Questions: Ask Dr. Shannon
Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 8:15 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Dr. Shannon Cubria Farris is a clinical psychologist. He will be a guest on The Breakfast Show on Sunday mornings, answering viewers’ questions about mental health.

You can join in the conversation by submitting anonymous questions here.

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Dr. Shannon talks about loneliness this week.

According to Dr. Shannon, loneliness can happen for many reasons including changing schools or jobs, working from home, moving to a new city, ending a relationship, or if you’re living alone for the first time. Often, it’s a lack of meaningful connections and interactions.

Dr. Shannon says if you are lonely, you may feel sad, empty, or as if you’re lacking something important when you spend time by yourself. Other symptoms include:

  • decreased energy
  • feeling foggy or unable to focus
  • insomnia interrupted sleep, or other sleep issues
  • decreased appetite
  • feelings of self-doubt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • a tendency to get sick frequently
  • body aches and pains
  • feelings of anxiousness or restlessness
  • increased shopping
  • substance misuse
  • increased desire to binge-watch shows or movies
  • cravings for physical warmth, such as hot drinks, baths, or cozy clothes and blankets

Dr. Shannon says there are some things to do to help with your loneliness. He suggests staying in touch with loved ones, if not physically try more video visits, listening to music or reading a book as opposed to watching TV, and moving your body more. He also says volunteering or trying a new hobby to help get you out of the house. And, if you are in a place where you can have a pet, adopt one.

Dr. Shannon also shared multiple resources for anyone who needs help.

  • The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) works to improve the lives of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI Programs include an abundance of educational opportunities, outreach and advocacy, and support services around the country.
  • The Lonely Hour is a podcast in which people open up about their struggles with loneliness and isolation. Sometimes, it’s helpful to hear that we’re not alone in these feelings, and encouraging to learn how others deal with it.
  • Mental Health America provides a wealth of information, including online support groups for specific needs. They can also steer you toward groups in your area.
  • Daily Strength connects people with common issues for mutual support.
  • Boys Town has a 24/7 crisis line for teens and parents, staffed by trained counselors. Hotline: 800-448-3000.
  • Childhelp offers support for child and adult survivors of abuse. Call the hotline 24/7: 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453).
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a confidential Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator and a 24/7 hotline: 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357).

Mental health affects everyone, whether it’s directly or indirectly. It affects friends, family members, co-workers, and other people in your life. According to Dr. Shannon, you don’t have true health until you have your mental health. Dr. Shannon’s goal is to work together with people and create a safe space to talk about mental health in a way that truly matters.

Dr. Shannon can answer questions about mental illness, dealing with mental illness, working with your children or family members and more. If Dr. Shannon doesn’t have all of the answers, he will find an expert who will be able to answer you.

He hopes these conversations about mental health can lend themselves to a little bit more understanding of what might be going on. He wants the Heartland to lean in with curiosity about situations, especially when it’s uncomfortable.