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“I didn’t realize what I had was depression. I thought it was just me.”

Because it can be difficult to know if you or someone you care about is experiencing depression or just “feeling down”, we often hesitate in seeking out help. This hesitation contributes to the problem. An estimated two-thirds of depression cases in the U.S. go undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in unnecessary suffering, lost productivity, negative impacts on relationships, and the personal mental health toll of dealing with untreated depression (Source).

Despite being a fairly common condition, depression is often difficult to recognize in ourselves, our friends, our partner/spouse, or coworkers. Many patients diagnosed with depression are surprised to learn that they are considered clinically depressed. Other patients are surprised to find out how severe their depression ranks on a standardized assessment, such as a PHQ-9.

And yet, chances are high that you or someone close to you is dealing with depression right now. The rate of depression has been increasing in the U.S. with nearly one in ten people now reporting experiencing a depression episode in the past year (Source).

What can you do to help? First, recognize the warning signs of depression. Second, seek out available resources to help.

7 Warning Signs of Depression

Here are 7 warning signs of depression, indicating you or someone you know may be dealing with depression:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Depression causes everything to seem worse. You may feel like all problems in your life are insurmountable and nothing will ever change. Even minor issues feel overwhelming to deal with.
  2. Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. You don’t care anymore about things you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, social activities, sports, or sex. You’ve lost the ability to feel joy and pleasure from life activities.
  3. Loss of energy. You are always tired, sluggish, and physically drained. It may take great effort to get out of bed in the morning to go to school or work. Everything on your to-do list feels heavy and hard. Even small tasks may seem impossible.
  4. Trouble concentrating. You may have trouble focusing on tasks at work or studies at school. You have difficulty remembering things and may find yourself reading the same information over and over.
  5. Significant change in appetite or weight. A dramatic increase or decrease in weight in a short amount of time can signal depression. A change in either direction of more than 5 percent of body weight in a month is concerning.
  6. Change in sleeping habits. If you are dealing with depression, your sleeping pattern might change to either extreme: insomnia (inability to sleep or irregular sleep) or excessively oversleeping.
  7. Engaging in reckless behavior. Sometimes in order to mask the negative emotions associated with depression, individuals engage in numbing or escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or thrill-seeking behavior.

If you recognize these behaviors in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to act. It’s better to take an action – any action – rather than wait it out and hope things will get better. But what action should you take?

7 Ways To Help Someone With Depression

After reading the seven warning signs of depression above, it should be clear that people struggling with depression have a hard time accomplishing tasks. Everything seems overwhelming; even picking up the phone to ask for help can seem daunting. That’s why people dealing with depression often need a friend or family member to encourage them to seek help, advocate on their behalf, or even make the call for help for them.

Whether you are looking for help for yourself or a friend, here are 7 ways to help someone with depression:

  1. Tell a friend or other family member. Enlisting an ally in the fight against depression is one of the best first steps you can take. Although it may make you feel extremely vulnerable, don’t be afraid to reach out to a close friend for help.
  2. Call or text 988. The new mental health crisis number, 988, became available nationwide in July 2022. Officially known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the helpline is available 24/7 for phone calls, text or chat. The helpline is staffed by trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal thoughts, depression, or another mental health crisis.
  3. If you are a college student, seek out on-campus counseling help. The university environment is unfortunately an ideal environment for causing mental health issues with its unfamiliar environment, separation from family, transient population, tight deadlines, and high-stakes testing. On-campus resources are available at nearly all universities to help students experiencing depression or other mental health issues.
  4. Reach out online. Many states, universities, and school districts have begun offering online and mobile app options for mental health help. In Utah, for example, the SafeUT app is targeted at students and their parents and offers a safe, convenient way to access mental health help 24/7 through either a phone call or text.
  5. Use your workplace EAP program. If your company offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), this can be a great place to start. Many employees may not know if an EAP is included as part of their company benefits package. To find out, check your company benefits information packet or ask your HR representative. Typically, an EAP will cover a set number of counseling sessions for free, plus provide resources to help find a long-term solution.
  6. Find local help. While online, phone, and app-based resources are helpful, many patients prefer the experience of an in-office visit. Visiting in-office with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional facilitates communication in ways that texting or phone calls simply cannot, such as the ability to read facial expressions and body language. Patients often report they feel more confident they were diagnosed accurately from an in-office visit, giving them more assurance in the treatment plan prescribed. For Utah residents, such in-office visits are available from providers like Ampelis Health, with two convenient office locations. Ampelis Health can diagnose depression and prescribe a treatment plan from multiple available treatment options to ensure it is the right treatment plan for each patient.
  7. Encourage others to seek help. Depression often travels in packs. Other family members and friends may be struggling silently with depression and not know where to turn. Opening a dialogue and making it safe to talk about depression and mental health issues can prompt others to see and recognize depression in themselves, helping them to seek out help as well.

Depression Help in Utah

If you are seeking help for depression for yourself or a loved one, take the first step toward healing and call Ampelis Health. New patients can typically be seen within a week at our Highland or South Ogden locations. Call us today at 435-776-5909 and let’s begin the journey together.

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