October is Depression Awareness Month. Every year in October we try to increase understanding, decrease stereotypes, and help educate people on how depression and other mental health issues impact people.
Awareness months give folks affected by a specific condition a chance to share their stories and help garner attention to bring forth change. Our goal this month is to help increase the overall understanding of depression, overcome stereotypes, and spread the word about the options that exist for those suffering.
We also wanted to use this month as an opportunity to raise awareness for research. Participating in research can help improve treatment options (or find new/better options) and increase access to treatment.
Here are some ways to observe the month, depression facts, and where to find support.
Depression is a common mental health concern in America and throughout the world. Far more than just “feeling sad,” depression negatively impacts how a person feels, thinks, and acts. It can cause disruption to school, work, and personal interests.
Misconceptions and misunderstandings of depression contribute to continuing stigmas about people living with the condition, the reasons it occurs, and their willingness to seek care.
In a 2018 study, researchers conducted a survey to assess the public’s knowledge of depression and the severity of the stigma surrounding it. What they found was not ideal. Many people believe that depression is caused by a "weak personality", and that counselling was perceived negatively.
This is why spreading awareness and educating the public are so important to decrease stigma and improve understanding of treatment. By destigmatizing depression and getting help, we are making it easier for those suffering to seek assistance and speak up before it escalates.
What You Can Do
Reaching out to loved ones, friends, or others living with depression could make a big difference in their life. Offer help with finding therapy or support groups, with daily tasks, start a conversation about how they are feeling and express support, keep asking them to come along or join an activity even if the likelihood of them joining is low, keep in touch with them.
Remember to just spend time with them, have fun, and not always focus on their depression. Some things you might want to avoid are giving unsolicited advice, minimizing or comparing experiences, attempting to fix them, or expressing a strong opinion on medication
Share your story
People living with depression, those living with people with depression, survivors of victims of suicide, and others can get involved and make an impact by sharing their stories. You can do this at events, through organizations’ websites, on social media etc.
Learning more about depression will help remove the stigma surrounding the condition, its causes and effects, and treatments.
A person should consider learning more about what depression is, its symptoms, how it presents, its types, causes, and treatment options and effectiveness.
Depression is a surprisingly common condition. It causes changes in how a person thinks, feels, and acts. There are different kinds of depression, and varying severity levels.
In the U.S., it affects about 16 million people each year, with about 1 in 6 adults experiencing depression at some point in their life. It can affect anyone at any age, including children and teens.
Though the exact cause is still unknown, experts indicate that a combination of different factors may contribute to its development, including: genetics, environment (changes to a living situation, job, or school; major life events etc), biological (living with certain medical conditions, taking certain medications, or other conditions may play a role), or psychological factors such as traumatic events, stress, or other influences.
Symptoms of depression can be different for each person, and how a person presents with symptoms can vary. Some common symptoms and signs of depression can include:
feelings of hopelessness
persistent sad, anxiety, or “empty” mood
feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness
physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
difficulty sleeping, waking early in the morning, or oversleeping
decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling slowed down
changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
Listen to the person without judgment.
Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
What role does Clinical Research play & why is it important?
Through Clinical trials we can:
Discover new treatments for diseases
Discover new ways to detect, diagnose, and reduce the chance of developing the disease
Show researchers what does and doesn’t work in humans that cannot be learned in the laboratory
Gain insights and answers about the safety and effectiveness of drugs and other therapies
Provide new tools for better healthcare
Test ideas under controlled conditions and study information to look for patterns
Determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe
Look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
Participating in a clinical trial can make life for others suffering with the condition better. Without research, future generations would have no hope. By conducting trials we are able to find better ways to treat, detect, and prevent the disease in a safe, controlled environment.
If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, and not finding relief in your current treatment, consider a clinical trial.
Green Mountain Research Institute is currently looking for volunteers for a phase 3 study on a new medication meant to be taken with your current treatment.
This medication has already been tested on people for safety, and has shown minimal risk. Taking part in this trial may help to bring a new, better treatment option to the market which can help millions.
Find out if you qualify. Make a difference - for yourself and for the world.
Green Mountain Research Institute 2023