October brings around Mental Illness Awareness Week, a week that is dedicated to helping the general public better understand and treat mental health concerns, especially depression. Why is this week important? Mental Health America estimates that one in four women and one in ten men in the United States will experience depression at one point in their lives. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or age. It can also be a very serious illness, with decreased daily functioning, negatively affecting work and school performance, in addition to personal relationships, and even suicide as possible by-products.
With these significant risks in mind, it is important to understand the difference between “feeling blue” and depression. The National Institute of Mental Health states that everyone has feelings of sadness, but that those feelings normally go away in a few days. Depression, however, is when those feelings do not go away, when a person feels sad or empty most of the day for at least two weeks and loses interest in things they normally enjoy. Other typical symptoms of depression include disturbed sleep (sleeping too little or too much), irritability or agitation, loss of energy, disturbed appetite (eating more or less than usual, leading to weight gain or loss), difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.
Sound familiar? Worried that you or someone you know may be experiencing depression? The SLCC Health and Wellness Center can help. On Thursday, October 25, the Health and Wellness team will provide free depression screening at the Student Center from 11 am – 1 pm. Can’t make the screening or just want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling? The Health and Wellness Center provides individual and group counseling services, including a free mental health assessment. Take that first step towards a healthier, happier future and call for an appointment today.