Depression Awareness: 8 Ways To Achieve It

Depression is a severe and common mental illness1 that affects your feelings, actions, and way of thinking. Depression mainly causes sadness which can make you lose interest in everything. It causes problems both mentally and physically. Depression sometimes leads to suicide, and raising depression awareness can help people.

Around a million people suffer from depression, and social media is a primary reason for that. Considering the huge role of social media in our lives, it is essential to raise awareness or have a depression awareness month with support groups to provide help. 

1. Symptoms Of Depression

A person undergoing a depressing face in his/her phase may exhibit several symptoms, some of which are given below. This can help identify depression and raise depression awareness.2

  • Losing interest in activities
  • Lack of sleep
  • Feeling gloomy
  • Lack of concentration, which leads to difficulty in making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Feeling guilty
  • Energy loss
  • Slower movements

2. Leading Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex condition that can happen due to various reasons. It could be a result of a medical illness or personal loss such as the death of a loved one. Some of the leading causes of depression3 are explored below:

2.1. Death or Loss

The sadness caused after the end of a loved one can lead to depression or increase depression tremendously.

2.2. Abuse

Emotional, sexual, or physical abuse can lead to depression.

2.3. Gender

Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men, although there is no fixed reason. The hormonal changes in different phases of a woman’s life might play a role in the higher incidences of depression in women.

2.4. Age

Older people have a higher risk of depression.

2.5. Significant Events

Losing a job, retiring, and getting divorced, are all significant events in your life that can affect you deeply. While it may affect some positively, others take the hit hard, causing a drastic and stressful life.

2.6. Severe Illness

Any other medical problems can also trigger depression.4

Signs of Anxiety and Depression

Nowadays, depression is widespread among teenagers, leading to suicidal thoughts and self-harm tendencies. Some even resort to substance abuse as a short-term relief from their daily perils. This can only do more harm in the future as it may result in addiction issues. Raising depression awareness is a great way of helping people with depression overcome their suffering. 

3. Ways to Increase Depression Awareness

3.1. Talk About It

Discussing your mental illness or emotional problems with anyone, such as your family or friends, is a big step towards increasing depression awareness. Depression is a major problem that is one of the leading causes of suicide and can also result in mental health disorders.

When you talk about your journey through depression and let others know what you go through, you may be an inspiration to others in the future. When celebrities or influential people open up about their depression, it is often a ray of hope for others experiencing similar feelings.

Another key point to talk about is the treatment options that are available for depression. Therapies, specialists, and medications are all effective ways of treating depression. So, if someone is feeling hopeless, help them overcome that phase by spreading depression awareness.

3.2. Stop Bullying

One of the crucial causes of depression among teenagers is bullying. Bullying is very common among schoolchildren. What starts as an act of fun may affect the victim deeply, hurting their feelings and self-confidence. This leads to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, ultimately defeating a child’s self-esteem. 

Talk to your children about bullying and check the anti-bullying policies implemented at their school. If you know someone is being bullied, make sure they are caught. Do not hesitate to stop them or contact any authorities in case of physical assault, cyberbullying, or any criminal activity.

Talk to every teenager that you know about bullying, and raise awareness about its effect on their peers. By talking about this, you are spreading depression awareness among teenagers and preventing them from engaging in such activities.

3.3. Reach Out To A Friend

If you know that your friend is suffering from depression, always be there for them. You may not know what they are going through, but never avoid them because it makes you uncomfortable.

You can visit their house, talk to them, or take them for a stroll under the sun. Sunlight and light exercise can be great mood boosters that could help your friend feel better. Encourage them to do work, meditate, and engage in activities that can alleviate their depression. 

3.4. Know the Symptoms

Knowing the symptoms and signs can help you identify whether you or any of your family members deal with depression. Talk about the symptoms and indicators of depression, and keep your friends and family members aware of these so that they can identify the traits in you or someone else. 

For example, you feel hopeless and sad for more than two weeks or lose interest in any activity you loved to pursue earlier. This is a key indicator of depression, and awareness can help others identify what you are going through.

Telling others about the characteristics of depression can help them encourage their loved ones too. Giving out such useful information is one of the easiest ways to spread depression awareness.

3.5. Get Help

Getting help is the first step to start feeling better, which many people find difficult. If you, your family members, or anyone you know is struggling with depression, the first and foremost suggestion is to visit a doctor. Doctors can do the first screening and recommend you to see a specialist as required.

Treatments usually include medication and counselling. You also have to make changes in your lifestyle, including exercising, having a diet, and getting proper sleep. All of these make a big difference in your depressing thoughts. Reaching for help is also a way of spreading depression awareness as it motivates others to follow suit.

3.6. Bust The Myths

There are numerous myths surrounding depression that raise the stigma around the topic. If you help dispel myths, you are helping to increase depression awareness. If you hear someone propagate myths about depression, use kind words to explain the consequences of spreading myths and educate them with the right information. This is a significant way to spread depression awareness.

3.7. Share Your Story

Your struggles with depression and mental health are your personal matters, which you may not wish to share with anyone. However, by sharing your story, you are not only spreading depression awareness but also inspiring someone to acknowledge their depression and take steps to get better.

Depression is an illness that is not physically shown, making it difficult to identify those who struggle and get the appropriate help. Your step to share your story might help people identify the signs and symptoms of depression5 and seek help. 

3.8. Prevention

Depression can not be generally prevented. It is also hard to recognize its cause in some people. If you undergo depression, you can help in spreading depression awareness. This may prevent other people from following any toxic traits or habits you pursued that led to the condition. 

If you have recovered from depression, you can spread depression awareness by educating people on preventing and overcoming depression, which can be very resourceful. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a positive relationship with everyone, exercising regularly, and getting therapy are ways to prevent depression. 6

4. Treatment

Living with depression can be challenging, but you can improve your lifespan by treating the illness. Some people can cure the symptoms of illness with the only form of treatment, while a combination of different treatments works more effectively for others. Your healthcare provider can enlighten you on the options available to you for treating depression.

Medications such as anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and antipsychotic drugs are usually provided upon prescription to treat depression. Most teenagers go for a combination of medication and therapy to get better results from their depression treatment. 

Talking about your struggles with a therapist (Psychotherapy) can help you cope with your negative feelings. Family therapy sessions can be highly beneficial and help spread depression awareness.

5. In The End

Take care of yourself by following a healthy lifestyle. Changes in the lifestyle include maintaining a good diet, a positive attitude, and regular exercise. It is vital to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily as it increases the production of endorphins in your body. Endorphins act as mood boosters that make you feel better. 

Avoid feeling overwhelmed by anything as it triggers emotions and may make you feel worse later. Set personal and professional boundaries in your life such that they do not cross each other. This can help you maintain a well-balanced, stress-free life. 

Your healthcare provider may suggest other treatments if therapies do not seem to improve your condition. This includes repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy, which could help you with depression.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is the Importance of Depression Awareness?

Raising awareness of depression is vital to ending the stigma surrounding it and other mental health disorders. Depression awareness also helps people understand that they are not alone and that there are many support systems available to help them cope with the illness.

Q2. Is October a Depression Awareness Month?

National Depression Awareness Month is observed in October each year. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, approximately 14.8 million adults in the United States have a major depressive disorder.

Q3. What Color Is Depression Awareness?

Green is a colour used to raise awareness of mental health. It symbolizes mental illness, bipolar disorder and depression. Green symbolizes continued awareness of mental health to combat the stigma often associated with it.

  1. Evans, Sherrill, et al. “The impact of mental illness on quality of life: A comparison of severe mental illness, common mental disorder and healthy population samples.” Quality of life research 16 (2007): 17-29. ↩︎
  2. Ravell, Eloise. “Students and Faculty Raise Awareness about Depression.” (2013): 25. ↩︎
  3. Elliott, Marta. “Gender differences in causes of depression.” Women & Health 33.3-4 (2001): 183-198. ↩︎
  4. Dunkley, David M., et al. “Daily stress, coping, and negative and positive affect in depression: Complex trigger and maintenance patterns.” Behavior Therapy 48.3 (2017): 349-365. ↩︎
  5. Vares, Edgar Arrua, et al. “Depression dimensions: integrating clinical signs and symptoms from the perspectives of clinicians and patients.” PloS one 10.8 (2015): e0136037. ↩︎
  6. Sanchez-Villegas, Almudena, and Miguel A. Martínez-González. “Diet, a new target to prevent depression?.” BMC medicine 11 (2013): 1-4. ↩︎

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Rishika Agarwal

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