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Mental Health and HIV
Almost every person faces mental health challenges at some point. Major stresses—like the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, or moving—can have a major impact on mental health. Having a serious illness, like HIV, can be another source of major stress. You may find that living with HIV challenges your sense of well-being or complicates existing mental health conditions. HIV, and some opportunistic infections, can also affect your nervous system and can lead to changes in your behavior.
Good mental health will help you live your life to the fullest and is essential to successfully treating HIV. To help manage your mental health, it is important to know when, how, and where to get help.
One of the most common mental health conditions that people living with HIV face is depression. Depression can range from mild to severe, and the symptoms of depression can affect your day-to-day life. Symptoms can include:
Other mental health conditions include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders. For a good description of specific mental health conditions and their symptoms, visit mentalhealth.gov.
At times, the problems of life can take a toll on people. Some might feel trapped, hopeless, or might wonder what they have to live for. If you are having thoughts like these or are thinking about hurting or hilling yourself, know that you are not alone and that things can change. SAMHSA's Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Get information online or call: (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Find Mental Health Services
Many organizations have websites and telephone hotlines that can help you find treatment for mental health conditions.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Find Help website provides a list of organizations and contact numbers that can help you find mental health treatment and support in your local area.
In addition, some people may have thoughts of suicide. Suicide is preventable and help is available. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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