‘You’re not alone:’ Indy native shares personal struggles to help young adults overcome anxiety, depression

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INDIANAPOLIS – For young adults experiencing anxiety or depression letting them know they’re not alone is step one.

Mental health experts say building a support network is critical, that can be with your friends, family and most importantly professionals.

To help with signs of anxiety try to meditate at least for 10 minutes a day to focus on your thoughts.

This advice is coming from Indianapolis native and now author and speaker, Zach Westerbeck. He took his own personal struggles with OCD and depression and wrote a book about it. He explained that he started to experience signs of physiological symptoms like a pounding heart, sweaty palms and a racing heart each morning as he went to work. He didn’t know then; it was anxiety which led to a deep depression.

“I was having thoughts of suicide from the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to bed,” explained Westerbeck.

Now he shares his story with college students across the country to help them understand, there’s help out there and they don’t have to go through what he experienced. Westerbeck wants students to to think of their mental health, as brain health.

“It’s the most important organ we have, everything begins and ends with the brain and there are actions we can take to improve it,” said Westerbeck, who is Mental Health First Aid Certified, “You’re not alone. There are millions of people worldwide that live and flourish diagnosable brain disorders, depression, anxiety – it doesn’t make you weak, weird, or different. It makes you human.”

Westerbeck wrote the book You’re Not Alone, The Only Book You’ll Ever Need to Overcome Anxiety and Depression to share what he wishes he would have known when he was struggling. His best advice is not be afraid to reach out to professionals because it could save your life.

In Indiana, there’s a hotline for you to call if you need assistance with your mental health. Call 211 for immediate assistance if you’re experiencing an emotional or substance abuse crisis or concerned about a family member or friend.

The national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

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