In today’s society, depression is a topic that is widely ignored and thought about as a “cry for help” or merely stress related. Although depression effects 18 percent of the U.S. population and is one of the most common mental illnesses, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) it is overlooked and can be hard to recognize by psychiatrists. Depression is like feeling that you’re hungry, but not knowing what you want to eat. Sometimes it can be silent and hidden, which is a reason why it can often go undiagnosed and lead to more underlying problems such as anxiety disorders or suicide.
Some symptoms of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, include feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness and loss of interest in doing the things they once found pleasurable. Depression has the possibility of decreasing energy or causing fatigue, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite and weight gain.
Studies shown in the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) show that women experience depression twice as much as men, and although the rate is distinctly different, men are put under the radar and not considered in the discourse about depression. This means there are fewer outlets for men to go to for support or to seek help. A statistic from DBSA said depression is the cause of over two-thirds of the 30,000 reported suicides in the U.S. each year.
There needs to be more education on depression other than how to prevent it, because it leaves out the millions of adults as well as children that suffer from depression who want to talk about something more progressive, like seeking help. Often times, those who suffer from depression show physical signs and endure multiple doctors appointments, according to the ADAA. This can lead to them being overlooked as signs of depression.
At the end of the day, depression is an epidemic that although mentioned, goes widely unnoticed. If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, there are resources at Shippensburg University such as Etter Health Center and the Counseling Center. For more information and help you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.