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  • Writer's pictureDaniela Williams

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. Although it is one of the most common mental disorders, treatment is not always accessible for those who need it the most. According to the National Institute of Mental Health of those residing in the US and are non-institutionalized, 21 million adults and 4.1 million adolescents reported at least one Major Depressive Episode in 2020.


Of the 21 million adults and 4.1 million adolescents, who reported experiencing a Major Depressive episode nearly half were untreated. Creating a month of awareness and education about depression is one way to increase the accessibility and affordability of depression screening and treatment.



It is important to note that depression isn’t just a result of one instance or a negative experience; it is very different from the “blues” or grief from losing a loved one. Major Depression episodes are serious medical events with significant clinical implications, such as increased body pains, decreased productivity at work/school, isolation from family and friends, chronic fatigue, substance use and abuse, and potential suicide. Screening with a mental health professional or primary care physician can prevent and treat those implications and a number of other issues stemming from undiagnosed depression.



As we think about and consider the importance of screening for depression, a helpful thought to consider is that no one factor contributes solely to the experience of depression, a number of factors including environmental, psychological, physiological, and genetic history play into a diagnosis of depression. And while depression is a significant clinical mental diagnosis it is also highly treatable. Adequate screening and education from a licensed clinical mental health professional can help begin the steps of recovery for you or someone you love that may feel depressed.





Ways to promote and observe National Depression Awareness Month


Engage:

Engage with family and friends and others in the community. Provide a listening ear or even just hold space for someone to be around you. These small acts are just a few ways to help reduce some symptoms of depression.


Share your Experience:

Normalize the experience of depression. Don’t be afraid to let people know if you have had an experience with a depressive episode. Your story can let others know they are not alone and provide hope that they will overcome their symptoms.


Get Educated:

Reach out to a mental health therapist to learn common symptoms and effects of depression. Learning about symptoms and the effects of depression can help you identify depressive symptoms in your own life or in the life of a loved one. The symptoms may vary for each person, but if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of harming themselves or others, please seek medical attention as soon as possible by calling 911 or the resources below.



Resources



Southeastern North Carolina Mobile Crisis Lines:


If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis and need immediate help, please Call 844-709-4097 (24/7/365)


If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty with mental health issues, developmental disabilities, or substance use issues please call 1-866-437-1821 (24/7/365)



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