Giving Anxiety and Depression the Boot

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Are you one of the fifty-one percent?

Or perhaps you live with a loved one who struggles with something that over half of our population deals with everyday.

According to the National Institute of Health, 51% of all Americans will have at least one diagnosable psychiatric disorder during their lifetime.  Emotional, psychological, behavioral and other struggles are far more common than most people realize.  The most common disorder in the U.S. is anxiety, followed by substance abuse, and then depression.

Unfortunately, due to the stigma attached to mental disorders, the average American struggles about 10 years before seeking help.  Only half of those needing treatment are getting it, and only one in five of those receiving treatment is getting better.

These are some of the statistics Dr. Mike Marino addressed at an all-day seminar called “Anxiety and Depression Boot Camp” held recently at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

The approximately 60 people who attended were given helpful information, practical techniques, tips and tools to help themselves or a struggling loved one change that statistic and enjoy life again.  Dr. Marino’s goal was for attendees to discover their best personal strategy for recovery, hope and healing from biological, psychological, social and spiritual perspectives.

Dr. Marino has an extensive background in communications and healthcare, hosting a nationally syndicated call-in radio program for five years.  He directed an in-patient psychiatric hospital and is a popular public speaker in the areas of personal growth and wellness.  He also served as a senior executive at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  Additionally, as the owner of a media company, he has produced broadcast programming, live events and written materials for Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

Steve Fryer, chairman of the Mental Illness Task Force at St. Andrew’s, invited Dr. Marino to speak because so many people struggle unnecessarily, and holidays can be particularly challenging.

“Anxiety reigns before the holidays,” Steve said.   “Many people get knocked down by depression and too often they just don’t have the support they need.  We can provide assistance and hope for our church members and the community.”

“The task force came about because 16 years ago we had a family member struck with bipolar disorder and we realized we didn’t know what to do, where to turn or how to handle the mentally ill.  We also knew we weren’t the only ones who needed help,”  Steve explained.

St. Andrew’s now has several different groups and Bible studies for those who suffer from different illnesses, and for their loved ones. Steve said that last year they hosted a seminar on bipolar disease and next year they hope to focus on Alzheimer’s sufferers and their families.

How do you know if you need help?

“What I tell people is if your struggle with anxiety and or depression is interfering with your daily life for more than a week or two, then it’s time to consider help,” Dr. Marino said.   “You don’t need to waste another day feeling hopeless or helpless.  Small changes in your thinking patterns, support community, diet and spiritual life can make a huge difference and you can have your life back.”

Dr. Marino explained that there are ways to prepare, plan, practice and pursue effective weapons when battling mental illness.  He has also written a book to help formulate a personal plan for recovery, called “Anxiety and Depression Boot Camp,” and his website is

“This world is as much a battleground as it is a playground,” Dr. Marino said. “Even Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have trouble…’ It’s sad to see so many struggle because they are ashamed of what people would think if they reached out for help.   People often want me to use softer terms like ‘stress’ and ‘sadness,’ but anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses are real, and treatable.  Let’s call it what it is, increase knowledge and lessen the stigma.  In my opinion and observation, it is not a sin to need help; everyone does on some level.  Trouble isn’t optional, facing it alone is.”

Near the close of the day Dr. Marino explained that during the years he worked with Billy Graham, people always asked Graham the same question, which was, “What one message would you give people to help them in their lives?”

“Since the 1940s Billy Graham’s answer was, ‘What I want you to know is that God loves you,’” Dr. Marino said, and reiterated the same message. “For all the practical information and clinical things I addressed, I want to make sure that somebody tells you that same thing and that you don’t leave here today without knowing that.”

Cindy can be reached at [email protected]



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