Losing Someone You Love to Depression
“Imagine a disease that affects millions of people, kills tens of thousands every year and for which there is no vaccine to protect from.”
This quote reminds me of why I became a mental health entrepreneur. My oldest brother Peter struggled for decades with depression. He could not find help from antidepressant medication or other available treatment methods. Eventually, he died by suicide, leaving many questions unanswered. For years, I wondered why he could not be treated effectively and how could people like him be helped in the future before it is too late?
As I researched different ways to help others battle depression, I discovered novel ways to make a meaningful difference. During this journey, I have benefitted from these methods and techniques myself, as losing my brother was in many ways an extremely difficult life experience. Also, building a healthcare company is highly stressful and challenging.
The most profound finding was the powerful connection between our mind and body and how changes in our sleep, nutrition, and exercise can significantly impact how we feel. I also benefited tremendously from learning to meditate and thus self-regulate my stress system, among other things.
Changes in our diets can help relieve depression symptoms effectively in numerous studies (the SMILES study being the most famous). We are what we eat. Therefore, I have incorporated a healthy diet with brain-friendly foods into my daily life to help keep my mental health in good shape. I focus on eating many organic whole foods and carefully avoid any endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly found in our food system and household products. Understanding and applying these learnings have made a massive difference in my well-being —not only on the mental side but also on the physical health side.
These findings, paired with the existing knowledge of the power of cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and helpful guidance from a licensed professional, led me on a path to founding my own company that empowers people with anxiety or depression to get and stay better.
In the end, if we get access to help soon enough and get started on the right path, mental health obstacles can be overcome, guaranteed. We all have the power within us; sometimes, we just need guidance to set us on the right path. Today, my co-founders, myself, and our awesome team continue to build Meru Health to help people like my brother.
I envision a world where anyone with depression or anxiety can fully recover just as we can fix a broken bone or reverse diabetes. I know we all have the strength within us. With the right support, we can learn skills and change behavior to feel empowered and to take care of our lives, ready to take on any obstacle that comes our way.
Kristian Ranta is the CEO and Founder at Meru Health, an online healthcare provider that offers an evidence-based program proven to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and burnout.