Claire Culverson, Intern
Although the temperature has not begun to drop in South Georgia, fall is officially here. Before we know it, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas will be upon us. Not only is it the season for holidays, October is Depression Awareness Month.
National statistics estimate that over 18 million Americans struggle with depression each day. Depression Awareness Month is intended to raise awareness and help individuals recognize and cope with their concerns. Whether it is physical, mental, relational, spiritual, or emotional, depression affects people in different ways. Many people overlook symptoms of depression or may mistake their depression for other illnesses.
Common symptoms include feelings of worthlessness and guilt, sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, insomnia or excessive sleeping, weight loss or gain, and suicidal thoughts. Other symptoms may be unexplainable aches and pains, difficulty staying on task, isolating yourself by avoiding people, or questioning why this is happening.
People experience depression in varying degrees and it occurs for different reasons. For some, it may be caused by the loss of a loved one, a recent divorce, or a traumatic event such as a car accident. For others, there may not be an identified trigger. Family history and a person’s neurological makeup may also contribute to the disorder. Researchers have found chemicals in the brain as well as identified genes make individuals vulnerable to low moods leading to depression. Whatever may be the cause of depression, it is never too late to begin treatment.
Some helpful tips for coping with depression include opening up to someone you trust, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, acquiring a healthy diet, monitoring your moods, or consulting with a trained professional if your symptoms return or worsen. Counseling therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of depression.
October is identified as Depression Awareness Month to educate and reduce the stigma and to increase support for people experiencing mental illness. October 10th is also identified as National Depression Screening Day.
During the month of October, The Samaritan Counseling Center is offering FREE depression screenings Monday-Friday from 8 AM to 9 AM. The Center is currently located at 500 S. West Street, Bainbridge, GA. To contact the Center or for more information, please call (229) 243-1633.