June 19, 2018

Part One

Depression and Suicide (Our Lady of Peace)

Recent headlines of public figures committing suicide has many people talking about mental health and depression. Depression is more than just being sad. It's a chronic illness that generally requires treatment. The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that 14 million Americans suffer from some form of depression but many don't get help. Nearly half of all Americans diagnosed with depression don't get the treatment that they need.

Depression affects everybody in different ways, so symptoms may vary. Many people dismiss the symptoms of depression thinking they are simply experiencing a sad time. While for others, symptoms are so severe that it becomes evident that something isn't right.

Some symptoms of depression include persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness, irritability or frustration (even over small matters), indecisiveness, feeling empty or worthless, loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, changes in appetite, sleeping more or less than usual, unexplained physical problems (such as headaches or chronic pain), and thoughts of suicide.

Some signs to look out for in other people are talking about suicide, looking for ways to harm oneself, preoccupation with death or dying, hopelessness, reckless and risky behavior, feeling trapped, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends and family, changes in sleep patterns, dramatic mood changes, and feeling a lack of purpose in life.

If you feel depressed or experience persistent symptoms of depression, call your doctor or a mental health professional. When these feelings continue for long periods of time, they can keep you from leading a normal, active life. Depression is highly treatable. However, left untreated, symptoms of depression can worsen and last for years.

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