Feeling sad? Worried? Fearful? Hyper?
You're not alone. Major depressive disorder affects 9.9 million American adults each year. Approximately 5% of those are college age students.
Persistent sadness, overwhelming helplessness, isolation, stress, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, or suicidal thoughts may be symptoms of undiagnosed depression or anxiety disorder.
Test Your Mood
It only takes minutes! Log on to Mental Health Screening. If you would like to discuss your results, please contact the Personal Counseling Office.
What Causes Depression?
Many factors set the stage for depression. Among the most important are your background, the skills and beliefs you use to cope with change, and any biological vulnerability you may have, including possible genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, or other serious physical problems.
The most common immediate cause of depression is the loss of personal worth and self-esteem. Frequently, this is brought on by external factors such as:
Loss of self-esteem and personal worth can also be caused by internal factors such as:
Are You Masking Depression?
Consider seeking professional support if you are:
You may be doing these things to mask underlying depression.
Professional Treatment for Depression
Getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. With professional help, you can speed up your recovery and short-circuit relapses. "Toughing it out" alone is unnecessary and keeps you tied to old ideas.
Several kinds of treatment are available. Work with a counselor to decide which one, or combination, is best for you. Don't be reluctant to try different methods since it may take some time to find the best approach for you. Between 80 to 90 percent of all people with depression respond to treatment.
Remember you are not alone! In addition to the Personal Counseling Office, the following campus resources are available:
Helping Someone Who is Depressed
You aren't responsible for your friend's depression. You can't fix your friend's life or change his or her mood. Although you may be tempted, don't try to give advice or take charge. Just listen.
The following are several useful listening techniques:
If you believe your friend is denying having serious depression, you may want to speak with a counselor about how to proceed. And let your friend know you're concerned. Ask whether he or she feels depressed. Continue to ask questions that encourage frankness. Keep an open mind about how the person evaluates his or her situation and use the listening skills listed above.
Helping a Friend Who Is Suicidal
Use the listening skills described above, but don't back off. In addition:
Here are some things you should not do in possible suicidal situations:
Once the immediate crisis is over, encourage your friend to get follow-up care. Keep in mind that a quick recovery from suicidal feelings may be your friend's attempt to deny --- consciously or unconsciously --- the intensity of the depression, and that the suicidal feelings may return.
Trying to help someone who is suicidal can be scary. Consider getting professional advice and support for yourself. And remember that you are not responsible for the impossible --- you can encourage a friend to get professional help, but you cannot stop someone's intent on committing suicide.