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ValueOptions Highlights Depression Risk After Heart Attack During American Heart Month

NORFOLK, Va., Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Every 34 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a heart attack. As February is American Heart Month, ValueOptions®, Inc., a health improvement company specializing in mental and emotional wellbeing and recovery, is putting the spotlight on an issue many heart attack patients face long after the immediate physical damage is through: depression.

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A study in the American Heart Association's Circulation journal found that heart attack survivors are three times more likely to develop depression than the general population—15 to 20 percent of heart attack patients develop a major depressive disorder, while an even greater number experience depressive symptoms.

As millions of Americans will experience a heart attack during their lifetime, a significant portion of the population—some of whom have never before experienced a mental health issue—will find themselves at greater risk of developing a mental health issue like depression.  

"Given the strong connection between our bodies and our minds, it's really no wonder that physical trauma can take such a toll on our mental health," said Hal Levine, ValueOptions Chief Medical Officer. "Just like heart disease, depression is a medical condition, and recovering from it requires serious consideration and care. Your doctor can work with you on formulating a treatment plan for your mental recovery along with your physical one. Talking through our feelings with someone we trust—a mental health specialist, a heart attack survivor support group, or a loved one—can also go a long way in helping us heal."

As finding support is a crucial step in recovering from disorders like depression, ValueOptions developed Stamp Out Stigma, an initiative to educate the public about the prevalence of mental illness and to create a network of support for those experiencing a mental health issue. Stamp Out Stigma provides a variety of mental health tools and resources, including an award-winning video series featuring personal narratives from individuals who have faced a mental illness firsthand, or who have supported a loved one facing an issue. To hear these compelling stories, and to get your own conversation started about mental illness, visit www.stampoutstigma.com.

For more information on heart disease, including potentially life-saving tips on recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack, visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org.

About ValueOptions®
ValueOptions is a health improvement company that serves more than 32 million individuals. On behalf of employers, health plans and government agencies, we manage innovative programs and solutions that directly address the challenges our health care system faces today. A national leader in the fields of mental and emotional wellbeing, recovery and resilience, employee assistance, and wellness, ValueOptions helps people make the difficult life changes needed to be healthier and more productive. With offices nationwide and a network of more than 130,000 provider locations, ValueOptions helps people take important steps in the right direction. We help them live their lives to the fullest potential. Visit www.valueoptions.com for more information.

About Stamp Out Stigma  
Stamp Out Stigma is an initiative spearheaded by ValueOptions® to ensure we remove stigma as a barrier to people seeking the care they need to recover. This initiative commits us all to recognize the high prevalence of mental illness and to reeducate ourselves, friends and family on the truths of mental illness. When we do this, we reduce the stigma. This campaign reminds each of us that we can help transform the dialog on mental health from a whisper to a conversation. Visit www.stampoutstigma.com for more ways to starting talking about mental health.

SOURCE ValueOptions

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