October is National Depression Awareness & Screening Month

October is National Depression Awareness & Screening Month

10/6/22 Laura Gibbons

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions affecting millions each year. Like any other health screening, screening for depression should be a routine part of taking care of your overall health and well-being.

Depression can affect anyone, and many who are struggling do not seek help. Depression can affect us physically, mentally, and behaviorally. Depressive disorders involve extended periods of feeling extremely low and disrupting a person’s ability to enjoy life and may show up in the following ways:

The Body: Causing headaches, changes in appetite causing either weight gain or loss, constantly feeling tired, low energy, body aches and pains, restlessness, a weakened immune system, and sleeping too much or not enough.

Thoughts: Feeling inadequate (like you aren’t good enough), extremely sad, guilty, irritable, lonely, empty, pessimistic (having a negative outlook), unable to focus or concentrate, unmotivated, unable to make decisions, and preoccupied with death or suicide.

Behaviors: Causing withdrawal from family and friends, not engaging in social activities and interests once enjoyed, decreased interest in sex, slowed speech, difficulty finishing or even starting tasks, or not keeping up with daily responsibilities.

Take a depression or other mental health screen to determine if you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.
Download depression fact sheet and Maintaining Good Mental Health

Tips for Tackling Depression:
Lift your spirits
: Figure out what lifts your spirts and make a list you can refer to when you start to feel down. Some things you might include: funny websites/videos, movies that make you laugh, looking at pictures of good times, listening to music, reading, playing with a pet, taking a shower/bath, hiking or being out in nature, puzzles, or other hobbies of interest.

Get moving: Moving helps get your body’s feel-good chemicals flowing. Take a brisk walk, go up and down the stairs, or do some jumping jacks. Aim for 30 minutes daily – you can break it up into three, 10 minutes session to make it easier.

Gratitude: Remind yourself that not everything is terrible by keeping a journal. Take some time each night to write down three things that you are grateful for, three things you achieved during the day, and or three good things that happened.

Take small steps: If your to-do list seems daunting, take a few moments to determine how much time it actually takes to complete each task. For instance, folding laundry may seem like a real pain, but only takes about 10 minutes. Rather than allowing it to sit and become a big, intimidating laundry pile, you will feel a sense of accomplishment by getting it done. Start with quick, small tasks and build up moment to taking care of the more time-consuming ones.

Connect: Call someone you trust and ask them to talk, just listen, or even just sit with you. Having a non-judging person present can help you open up, or at least feel less alone.

Challenge negative thoughts about yourself: Being depressed may make you feel like something you’ve done was horrible, that you’re horrible, or that you don’t’ deserve good things to happen. But if a loved one told you they were feeling that way – what would you say to them?

Contact the EAP: The EAP is a great first step whether you are feeling down, want to discuss your depression screen, or want to address any area of your life that you feel deserves attention.

Sources: Mental Health America

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