Wildcat Wellness: Depression

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Gina Welisch '15, Writer

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Clinical depression is a mood disorder that causes emotions such as sadness, frustration, sense of loss, and shame. Depression is not uncommon today. Sadly, quite often people with this disorder are made to feel ashamed and embarrassed of what they are going through. However, I believe that it is time to make a change. As brothers, sisters, families, communities, and societies, we should work toward greater education on depression and learn that it is not something to be ashamed of. Depression is very common among the world population — so common that 1 in 5 people will be diagnosed with major depression in his or her lifetime.

Because depression is so common in today’s society, it is important that students and staff members are aware of the signs and symptoms of depression. About 11% of teenagers will experience depression by the age of 18. Unfortunately, adolescents with depression often are dismissed as having characteristic teenage moodiness, which prevents them from receiving the proper treatment to help them cope. Symptoms of depression in adolescents are the following: persistent unhappiness and negativity, uncontrollable outbursts of rage, chronic worry, excessive fear, lack of motivation, frequent complaints of illness, excessive worry, decreased energy, insomnia, or excessive sleeping. For people suffering with all these feelings, some may feel helpless and hopeless about life. These feelings of hopelessness about life can lead some to attempt or die from suicide. Over 90% of people who commit suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

Thankfully, there are preventative measures our community can take. Marin Catholic offers a number of resources for anyone who is suffering with depression. Guidance college counselors are not just there for college — they are trained counselors to help students who might be struggling with any personal issues. All conversations conducted with them are confidential, though they will make a referral to Mrs. Ingels or an outside party if additional support is needed. You will also find many resources outside of Mrs. Ingels’s office, including ones that detail the signs of depression and how to help a friend who is suicidal. Please do not hesitate to refer a friend for help or to seek support on your own. No one is alone.

Depression, in many cases, does not lead to suicide, and it is important to remember that many people suffering with depression never even consider suicide. However, it is vital nonetheless that the Marin Catholic community is educated on the warning signs of suicide. These include wanting to die/kill oneself, active searches for methods of suicide, increased use of substances, feelings of being trapped or isolated, sudden inappropriate happiness, loss of interest, saying goodbye to loved ones, and giving away prized possessions. Suicide is preventable, yet it is the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24. Another staggering statistic is that there are 4 male suicides per female suicide, but women attempt suicide 3 times more than men.

As a local community it is imperative that we know the signs of depression and can openly talk about it. Helping a friend or peer by guiding them to help, whether it be a counselor or trusted adult, can potentially help save a life. Let’s help contribute to lowering these statistics! For all of those who may be reading this and are struggling with depression, I ask you to please seek out help. Depression is not permanent; you can overcome it.

In later editions of The Roar, we will be covering other health and wellness issues, some of which can result from untreated depression. These include substance abuse, self harm, and body image. Again, we urge you to speak with a counselor at school if you feel that you or a friend needs outside assistance. There is never shame in reaching out for help; rather, it demonstrates the amount of courage and strength you have.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (3255)

Suicide Prevention and Crisis Line

415-499-1100

Website: www.fsamarin.org/spcc.htm

National Institute of Mental Health

Education on Depression…

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

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