Many of us at some point may feel overwhelmed by life stressors.

Many of times this may lead to us feeling depressed. In many cases, self-help is the best treatment for those bouts of low self-esteem and occasional feelings of being sad and overwhelmed. A good routine such as a balanced healthy meal, getting adequate sleep, engaging in regular exercises, participating in activities that you enjoy, avoiding alcohol, drugs and excessive use of caffeine can help you get back on track.

Depression is an illness that affects the whole body – But, the good news is that it is treatable. Whether your symptoms are mild, moderate or severe, professional help may be necessary. In general, you should seek professional support if your attempts at self-help are ineffective, and your depression persists for several weeks, becomes more severe, and or leads to self-destructive thoughts and behavior.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a reaction to the lack of daylight during the winter months. Symptoms can be of either minor or major depression.

Minor depression

  • Overeating or loss of appetite (both extremes)
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Tired throughout the day - wanting to sleep all the time
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Lack of concentration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sadness
  • Using alcohol and or drugs to “feel better”

Major depression

  • Loss of pleasure in activity that use to be enjoyable
  • Weight loss or weight gain (both extremes)
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed by sadness or “going crazy”
  • Thoughts of suicide

Helping a Friend who is depressed

  • Support – It is important to listen to them and avoid judgmental comments.
  • Care – Stay in touch and interested in how they are doing
  • Honesty – If their behavior or comments are frightening, say so. Reassure them that their feelings are temporary and depression is treatable.
  • Stepping back – If you start feeling angry or frustrated, step back and continue the conversation later.

Helping a friend who is suicidal

  • Seek professional help immediately
  • Tell them that you are concerned. Make an agreement with them that they will not attempt suicide while you’re getting help for them
  • Listen attentively

Do Not:

  • Assume that the situation will take care of itself
  • Leave them alone
  • Be sworn to secrecy
  • Act shocked or surprised
  • Challenge or dare
  • Argue and debate issues
  • Offer alcohol or drugs

Where can I Get Help?

Student’s can visit the Counseling Center or the Health and Wellness Center here on campus or any other professional mental health counselor or physician.