NATIONAL DEPRESSION EDUCATION & AWARENESS MONTH
National Depression Education & Awareness Month is an annual designation observed in October. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, about 14.8 million adults in the U.S. are affected by Major Depressive Disorder. Because of this, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24, and those numbers are currently on the rise. Depression is very difficult for the individual suffering with it, as well as for their friends and family. Depression makes its victims feel hopeless, distressed, worthless, and anxious, to name a few. Perhaps the most difficult part is that those who suffer from depression rarely see a light at the end of the tunnel, even if everything in their life is seemingly “going well.” It’s hard for others to grasp because many times, there’s not an obvious problem in that person’s life that would make them feel depressed. This is why it’s important to get the conversation going, even if it’s uncomfortable at first. It will save lives.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Spread the word about the negative effects of depression. Use #DepressionAwareness to post on social media. Too often, depression is misunderstood as simply “feeling sad.” The fact of the matter is, depression is the opposite of simple; it’s a complex condition that can affect people no matter the age, gender, race, or life situation. 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, lack of concentration, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts. If someone has several of these symptoms lasting two weeks or more, they need to see a medical professional as soon as possible. It’s more than sadness. It’s a chemical imbalance in the human brain that needs immediate medical attention. Here are a few other facts you may not fully understand about Major Depressive Disorder.
- Depression has different triggers. It can stem from a major life event, or can come without any recognizable “cause” at all.
- Some depression is genetic, but not all. The genetic predisposition to depression is becoming better and better understood every day.
- It affects your physical body. Frequent headaches, stomach issues, or any other physical symptoms along with mental symptoms are common for those with depression.
- Depressed people may not look depressed. It’s called the hidden illness for a reason. Some people are good at masking their depression with upbeat and cheerful attitudes.
- Exercise can help manage depression, because it releases endorphins and improves your mood.
In our research, we were unable to find the founder of National Depression Education & Awareness Month.