October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability around the globe. That’s why every October is considered National Depression Education & Awareness Month, where mental health advocates and organizations discuss the importance of depression treatment and recovery.
Sharing facts and having these critical conversations can help those struggling feel less alone, encourage them to seek help, and show them that there's hope and strength around the corner.
Facts about depression
- Depression affects around 1 in 15 adults (6.7%) every year, and one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.
- Depression can strike at any age or point in life, but it first appears between 18-25 years old on average.
- Women are more likely to experience depression than men; some studies have shown that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
- Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of your healthcare. (Most physicians use the Beck Depression Inventory or PHQ-9 to screen for mental health.)
Signs and symptoms of depression
Too often, depression is misunderstood as simply "feeling sad." The truth, however, is that depression is the opposite of simple. It's a complex condition that affects anyone regardless of age, gender, or race.
Some symptoms of depression include:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of pleasure in all or most activities
- Weight/appetite change
- Change in sleep and activity
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts.
If someone has several of these symptoms lasting two weeks or more, they need to see a counselor, therapist or medical professional as soon as possible.
A few misconceptions about depression
Here are a few other things that are commonly misunderstood about Major Depressive Disorder.
- Depression has different triggers. It can stem from a significant life event or come without any recognizable "cause" at all.
- Some causes of depression are genetic, but not all. The genetic inclination to depression is becoming better understood by experts.
- It takes a physical toll on your body. Frequent headaches, stomach, and digestive issues, amongst other physical symptoms, are common for those with depression.
- People with depression don't always 'seem' depressed. Many people are great at masking their depression with upbeat and optimistic attitudes.
- Exercise can help manage depression because it releases endorphins and improves your mood.
How can you help a loved one suffering from depression?
You can play a crucial role in helping a person who is depressed:
- Practice active listening and refrain from making judgments.
- Encourage your loved one to get other help, offer to assist them in finding it.
- Stay in touch, let them know you’re there for them.
- Make plans together to do something fun.
- Stay alert for warning signs of suicidal behavior. If there is an immediate risk, get them to a hospital emergency department, or call 911 right away.
- Take comments about suicide seriously, and report them to their health care provider or therapist. If they're in immediate distress or thinking about hurting themselves, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Finding help for depression
Coping with depression can be debilitating, and there's much more to it than feeling sad all the time. You don't need to manage your symptoms of depression alone. If you are experiencing any symptoms or signs of depression, it may be time to seek help.
At Michigan Psychological Care, our mission is to help you find the care and treatment you need. We work to put your worries about opening up to rest by providing a comfortable location and atmosphere.
We have three convenient facilities to provide you with the compassionate care you deserve. Our sessions are provided in a one-on-one setting with one of our experienced therapists. If you're interested in group counseling, we also provide that. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Keywords: depression screening, diagnosis, depression therapy, depression counselor, therapy for depression