Independence Radio: Depression and Disability

On this episode of Independence Radio, host Stephanie Wallace discusses how depression can affect people with disabilities, and how a person’s behavioral health can affect their physical health.

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Stephanie’s guest, Rosemary Salopek, is a former director of behavioral health at Independence Care System (ICS) and a healthcare services professional who has specialized in behavioral health and managed care during her career. Rosemary earned her Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) from New York University.

“People are complex. Medical issues don’t define a person,” said Rosemary. “People’s histories, families, and experiences all shape how we function in the world. Where we are now is a reflection of where we came before then.”

Addressing depression for people with disabilities

Among a range of topics, the segment focuses on how people with disabilities can cope with depression, anxiety, and trauma, defining what depression is, and the signs of someone who is depressed.

Rosemary emphasizes the significance of being able to recognize when a loved one may be depressed and helpful steps to take. The sooner signs of depression are recognized, the better, especially since emotional health problems often contribute to emergency room visits or hospitalization. Rosemary also said that mental anguish makes physical pain from an illness or injury worse.

“Sometimes talking to a stranger, calling a toll free number or speaking to a peer works,” Rosemary said. “It’s challenging in this fast-paced world for people to stop and listen. It’s a tricky thing to stop and listen to what someone is going to tell you.”

Rosemary also notes that there is a higher rate of depression among people with disabilities.

“The prevalence of depression is significantly higher with people who have disabilities and other medical issues,” Rosemary said. “Treatment, social and religious connections are all important to alleviating depression.”

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