If you or someone you know is struggling or in a crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

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What Is Depression And Tips To Manage It

Want to understand what depression is, what the common symptoms are for depression and some tips to manage it?

Mental health challenges can show up in lots of different ways among young people. For example, certain situations can make someone feel anxious, while others might feel stress. You are unique and so are your experiences, and it’s important to understand and respect that.

However, there are certain patterns that can be similar from person to person. Knowing these can help you to understand what you might be going through which may lead to better, more focused help.

We dive into some of the more common mental health issues, such as depression.

What Is Depression?

The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as:

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.

Depression is not about being sad or down because you have had a difficult day. It is much more than that. Having depression comes with more prolonged feelings of sadness and isolation. It is a feeling that sticks around for longer, like weeks and even months on end. It can make everything harder to do and enjoy.

Like a lot of mental health issues, depression can be caused because of genetics, your environment, traumatic situations and so on. It also might be the case that there is nothing specific going on, yet your mind can still feel a certain despair. It’s important to understand that it is completely OK to feel this way and it is not your fault. You are not alone and you do not have to go through this alone. Depression is actually one of the most common mental disorders in the United States and 15% of youth in America ages 12-17 are affected by major depression.

There are different types of depression, some which can happen due to certain circumstances. For example seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that typically starts during autumn and winter seasons and major depression is lasting sad, anxious or empty mood and the loss of interest in almost all activities.

Symptoms Of Depression

Everyone’s experiences of depression are different, but some of the common symptoms are:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or ’empty’ mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Being irritable, frustrated or restless
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Little or no interest in things that used to excite you
  • Decreased energy levels and fatigue
  • Finding it hard to concentrate, remembering or making choices
  • Difficulty sleeping, either not sleeping much or oversleeping
  • Change in appetite or weight chances that weren’t planned
  • Physical aches or pains, like headaches or digestive problems that don’t go away with treatment
  • Thoughts or attempts at ending your life

If you have been experiencing some of these signs most of the day, almost every day, for at least 2 weeks, you may be experiencing depression.

What To Do If You Think You May Be Experiencing Depression

If you feel like you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, it is important to talk to a professional. Depression is not something you can just ‘snap out of’ and is something that needs to be taken very seriously.

Prioritize your mental wellbeing by talking to a professional who can make a clinical assessment and provide thorough steps and tips on how to get better. With the right support you will be able to manage your feelings in a better way and work toward a brighter you.

We’re curated national helplines for US teens in our short film below.

If you or someone you know is struggling or having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. In life-threatening situations, call 911.

Additional Resources And Support On Depression

Anxiety and Depression Association of America have these helpful FAQs on depression.

The Jed Foundation, suicide prevention for college age youth.

The Boys Town National Hotline is open 24 hours a day, all year round and is staffed by trained counsellors and accredited by the American Association of Suicidology. They have Spanish-speaking counsellors and translation services for more than 100 languages. Reach out and get help by calling 800-448-3000 or text VOICE to 20121.

Mental Health America have specific resources on depression in teens and depression in Black Americans.

Disclaimer: This website offers general information and is not a substitute for professional advice. We are not clinicians or trained professionals; this information should not replace seeking help from a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare provider for personalized guidance.