Signs of Depression

As the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain draw attention to the public health crisis of depression and mental illness, NewsCenter1’s Anya Mueller spoke with a mental health counselor for more on warnings to watch for.
Sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest, and thoughts of dying are all signs of depression. Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress.

Alyssa Martin, a licensed counselor from Black Hills Counselors says that it is hard to know when someone is suffering from depression, because often times they are very functional. Some depression is situational, and some are born with a genetic makeup that makes them more prone to depression. “So sometimes it doesn’t make sense when you see people that should be happy and have a good life and ‘why are they depressed?’ Again, they did not choose; they did not pick for their brains to be that way.”

If you do notice dramatic changes in a person or hear them talk about taking extreme measures, this may be a red flag. And sometimes it may even be hard to recognize, as many are functional while depressed. They will often have an “all or nothing” frame of mind.
Abusing drugs, especially depressants such as alcohol or sedatives, can also trigger symptoms of depression, increasing the risk of suicide.

Martin’s advice is to reach out to someone if you think they may be suffering, even though it may be an uncomfortable conversation. Stigma plays a role in keeping people from getting help.

There are a number of medications and therapies that may reduce the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts.

“People can have it all. They can have a beautiful house, they can have a family, they can have a job they really love, they can be famous. They can have of all of that but it doesn’t matter … we don’t get to decide whether another person gets to be depressed or not, because we don’t know what it’s like living in that person’s body and knowing what they go through every day. And so it really can be a lonely life, and we just don’t know it.”

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, you are encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, available 24 hours every day.

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