Carroll College, Helena Montana

Depression

Depression

The word "depression" comes from the Latin word, "deprimere", meaning to press down or depress. Anyone who has ever suffered from depression recognizes the connection between the physical feeling of being pressed down and the emotional and spiritual sensation of feeling depleted of energy for living.
Carroll College students who have experienced depression describe it in vivid terms such as "being in a deep, dark pit", "feeling hopeless about life", "total apathy for living", and "absolutely no enjoyment in life anymore". The bad news about depression is that it impacts every aspect of an individual's life: social, physical, spiritual, emotional, and cognitive changes occur as it becomes more and more difficult to cope. The good news about depression is that it is very, very treatable.

DepressionThe 1990's earned the sobriquet "Decade of the Brain" due to the vast amount of research focusing on the impact of amino acids on our emotional health. Seratonin, endorphins, and dopamine have become familiar terms as medical scientists link our mental health to the biochemistry of our brains. As a result, antidepressant medications have become more and more effective in treating depression.

Many kinds of stressors can trigger a medical depression, including relationship breakups, experiences of failure or loss, or the stress of adjusting to a new environment. Clinical depression is sometimes called the "common cold" of mental health since about 3 to 5% of the population are depressed at any one time, and about 20% are clinically depressed at some time in thier lives. The distinction between "normal" adjustment difficulties and clinical depression can be a subtle one.

Warning Signs of Clinical Depression Include:

You don't have to feel this way forever. We are here to help.

  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Feeling irritable most of the day
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Social withdrawl
  • Impaired concentration
  • Sleeping more/less than usual
  • Increased/decreased appetite
  • Siginificant weight gain/loss
  • Diminished ability to think
  • Indecisiveness
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Missing class
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • More agitated than usual
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

DepressionMany of these symptoms can be caused by problems other than depression. However, if you are experiencing three or more of these symptoms nearly every day for two or more weeks, PLEASE contact the Wellness Center at 447-5441 and schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. It is often the result of immense psychological discomfort. It is estimated that 40-60% of persons who commit suicide are clinically depressed. The good news is that depression is very treatable.
Many people do not go to counseling or turn to others for help because they believe asking for help would mean that they are a failure or inferior to others. Or they may feel that no one can help them solve their problems. The truth is that there are people who can help.

"Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students."

Most people who experience suicidal thoughts at one point in time move past the experience and lead a normal life. If you feel suicidal, please know that you are not alone, and help is available. During business hours (9:00-4:00) contact Counseling Services at 447-5441 or come directly to the Wellness Center. Outside of those hours, please call on-call Community Living, available 24/7 (406-459-0540). You may also call 911 or go directly to the hospital emergency room.

Research indicates that the majority of persons who attempt suicide give some warning signs, verbal or behavioral, of their intent to kill themselves. It’s important to be aware that a person who is considering suicide may not appear sad or blue. Rather he or she may appear lively, happy, social, and achievement oriented. In cases like this, signs not associated with depression or isolation may be present that indicate the person is considering suicide.

Some of the risk factors for suicide are listed below. Many people may show some of these signs without ever trying to kill themselves. However, these are signs that let us know something may be seriously wrong and give us an opportunity to reach out and offer help.
· Chronic sadness or depression
· Social isolation
· Loss of interest in activities
· Direct or indirect statements about suicide or hopelessness
· Preoccupation with death
· Making a plan or other preparations for suicide
· History of previous suicide attempt(s)
· Marked change in the person’s usual patterns of behavior
· Giving away money or valued possessions
· Writing a will, good-bye letter or suicide note
· Severe family or other relationship problems
· Legal problems
· Significant academic problems
· Recent trauma

If you notice any of the above warning signs in a friend or loved one, you have reason to be concerned. There are ways that you can be helpful to a friend or loved one who is thinking of taking their own life.
Ø Be honest and express your concerns. For example, “You seem really down lately, is something bothering you?”
Ø Ask directly about thoughts of suicide. For example, “Have you thought of killing yourself?”
Ø Listen and offer emotional support, understanding, and patience.
Ø Convey the message that depression is real and treatable.
Ø Offer to accompany your friend to see a counselor.
Ø If suicidal thoughts are expressed it is important to contact Counseling Services as soon as possible.
Ø If the person is suicidal, do not leave them alone. Call for help or take the person to the hospital emergency room.