Depression: Help is available and ok to get

Julie Frank

Julie Frank

“Where does depression hurt? Everywhere. Who does depression hurt? Everyone.”

These are the words people regurgitate back to the television when the overplayed Cymbalta, a prescribed medication for depression, commercial comes on. Although some may roll eyes and flip channels, a group of SDSU nursing students is urging people to pay more attention.

Katie Callanan, Penny Decker, Becka Mansheim and Jill Terwilliger, with the assistance of Amy Jones, a nursing professor, conducted a project focused on teaching students about depression on campus and eliminating the stigma that depression is a weakness.

“We wanted to raise awareness for people to get help,” Callanan said.

The group is raising awareness about the disease through table toppers and with the help of residential life and Student Health. They created a link on Student Health’s Web page that contains information about depression.

Depression is a “mental health disease” according to Debra K. Johnson, a mental health counselor at Student Health and Counseling Services.

“It’s very important for people to understand it’s a disease, chemically things happening in the body,” she said.

Depression can occur biologically, genetically and by high levels of stress, according to Johnson, and everyone can be prone to the disease.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, one out of four young adults will experience a depressive episode by age 24. That’s an estimated 28 residents on a residence hall floor or roughly 2,750 students at SDSU experiencing some type of depression. The APA also reported that untreated depression can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death of college students.

Students balancing combinations of work, finances, relationships, academics and adjustment to college life often find themselves overwhelmed and stressed out, according to the group, making them more vulnerable to depression.

“The help is there,” Mansheim said.

Student Health provides free counseling to students and individual treatment options.

Depression can be treated with medication or counseling. The best treatment is a combination of both and early detection.

An estimated 250 – 300 appointments are made at Student Health by students seeking counseling for depression, according to Johnson.

“Just like any other disease … there are things we can do to make it less difficult to get through the disease,” Johnson said.

Both the group and Johnson encourage students not to hesitate and get help.

How it happens and how to stop it

Symptoms of depression vary for each individual and not all of them need to be present to be diagnosed with it, according to Debra K. Johnson, a mental health staff counselor at Student Health. Contact Student Health for help if experiencing any of the following:

? Difficulty functioning? Eating more or less then usual? Disturbed sleeping ? Lost of interest in pleasurable activities ? Poor concentration? Inability to make decisions? Low self-esteem? Fatigue

There are many things that can help prevent high stress levels and feelings of depression, according to Johnson. Here are things students can do to help:

? Exercise? Maintain good nutrition? Get proper sleep? Social support? Spend time in the sun? Balance work and play? Reduce alcohol and drug usage? Take care of financial burdens and relationship issues? Journal? Refer to a list of positive feedback from others? Watch the way you speak to yourself

#1.883476:954642729.jpg:Depressionsucks.jn.jpg:Students deal with depression daily, but there is help available.: