Everyone has bad days, and it is common to sometimes feel unhappy or gloomy. If those feelings of hopelessness persist, it may be time to seek support and guidance. Among other services, Laurie Grengs Counseling offers depression counseling for those who believe their behaviors and feelings may be symptoms of depression.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. According to a recent online article from Verywell, untreated depression is the most common instigator of suicide. We wanted to help raise awareness by discussing this delicate topic.
Depression is a mental health disorder defined by continual sadness or loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities, leading to significant downturn in a person’s life. Because of the shame that unfortunately still surrounds mental health issues, some people may see depression as a weakness.
Research does not indicate one single cause of depression but rather a combination of factors from which one develops feelings of hopelessness. Depression can be the result of any mix of genetics, hormones, chemistry in the brain, or overall physical health. Major life experiences that adversely affect one’s mind or heart also play a role in long-term despair.
Depression can affect people of all backgrounds and all ages, and it can begin as early as childhood. An estimated 3.1 million young people in the U.S. have suffered at least one considerably somber circumstance over the past year. While girls are more likely than boys to experience depression, 6 in 10 children and adolescents with depression are not receiving any type of care for it.
Untreated depression can lead to self-harm and increase a person’s risk of suicide. More than 47,000 people in the United States take their own lives every year, making suicide the country’s tenth leading cause of death. Additionally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 10-34. While females attempt suicide twice as often as males, the latter are four times more likely to die by suicide.
Symptoms of depression are not always obvious and often can advance slowly enough to go almost undetected. Noticing warning signs in yourself, friends, or loved ones is key to finding help and beginning the healing process.
While not always an indicator of depression, learn to take note of substantial modifications to mood or behavior such as:
- Change in appetite or considerable weight loss or gain
- Episodes of uncontrolled crying
- Excessive sleeping, sometimes up to 20 hours a day
- Canceling social engagements
- Difficulty making easy decisions
- Disorganization or inability to concentrate
- Persistent thoughts of death or suicide
Check in on family and friends. From time to time, run through a spiritual evaluation of one another. Ask your loved ones how they are doing and let them know of any troubled feelings you may be having. Make an agreement to get help for each other if symptoms of depression are observed or identified.
The statistics surrounding depression and suicide are sobering, and only about half of Americans who are diagnosed with depression each year get treatment.
If you are suffering from depression, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Depression is treatable. Support is available from family, friends, and professionals like Laurie Grengs Counseling. If you or someone you know is battling feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide, please contact us. We can help you understand the root of your symptoms and lead you on a path to healing.