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Why Patient Success: Mental Health & Wellness

Why Patient Success is a series from Luma staff about their experiences as patients and caregivers navigating the healthcare system. 

If you experienced increased anxiety or depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, you weren’t alone. According to a report by the World Health Organization, the pandemic triggered a 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. 

Marissa Ramirez, Director of Demand Generation Marketing at Luma Health, was one of the people who experienced mental health challenges during the pandemic. But due to her past access to mental health care and social support, she could recognize symptoms of depression and anxiety before they started intensifying. 

“When I was fifteen, I started sleeping all the time. I lost all interest in anything but staying in bed, which made my parents pretty nervous,” remembers Marissa. Her parents were proactive, reaching out to their community to find a child psychiatrist and psychologist for her. After a series of tests, she was diagnosed with depression and given the tools to manage her day-to-day. 

“I took an antidepressant throughout the rest of my high school and college years. It was amazing to see how the right blend of medications could change my life for the better,” said Marissa. 

She also fell in love with therapy, thanks to her parents’ extensive research to find the right psychologist: “My mom found someone who was a great fit for me. Even though my therapist lived thirty minutes away, my mom would leave work early to drive me each week because she knew how important they were in my care.” 

The support and love from her family and friends eliminated any unwarranted social stigma Marissa may have felt while experiencing depression.“My experience as a teen helped me learn how to advocate for my mental health needs,” said Marissa. 

Almost a decade later, when Marissa started noticing symptoms of anxiety and depression re-enter her life, she had the tools to address them. “One silver lining that came out of the pandemic is that the barrier to receiving mental health care is lower than ever. There’s less stigma because we are all collectively going through a really tough time,” she said. 

Marissa recognizes that her experience accessing care was a good one. “I’m lucky to live in an area with great mental health resources and lack of stigma around them. Not everyone has that access, but they should,” she said.

Marissa encourages family, friends, and colleagues to talk openly about mental health and reach out to her if they need a listening ear. “I believe one of the best things each of us can do to make mental health care more accessible is treating it as a normal part of life,” she said.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis or thoughts of suicide, dial 9-8-8 for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.