Life’s pressures, too little sleep, or suffering a loss or disappointment can all affect your moods and emotional health. Small or large setbacks can seem like the end of the world. If your feelings of sadness, irritability, or hopelessness don’t go away, it could be depression.
Depression is a serious condition that affects 15 million Americans age 18 and over. Despite the prevalence of this condition, many people go untreated. Consequently, this year’s World Health Day (which is celebrated on April 7th) seeks to encourage open communication about depression to encourage people to get help through their “Let’s talk” campaign.
Watch for these signs
The major difference between depression and feeling down is how severe the symptoms are and how long they last. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you often or usually feel sad, anxious or “empty?”
- Do you sleep too little or too much?
- Has your appetite shrunk, and have you lost weight? Or do you have a bigger appetite, and have you gained weight?
- Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed?
- Are you restless or irritable?
- Do you have persistent headaches, chronic pain or constipation that doesn’t respond to treatment?
- Do you have difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions?
- Do you often feel tired or a lack of energy?
- Do you feel guilty, hopeless or worthless?
Where to turn for help
Depression can be treated. The earlier you get help, the better! Support is critical for those struggling with depression. If you or a loved one needs help, you may find it by:
- Calling Health Advocate (if you’re an eligible member)
- If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our EAP+Work/Life Program, call us today to speak to one of our Licensed Professional Counselors. It is a good place to start to help you begin to work on your depression as well as help you cope if you have a loved one dealing with these issues.
- If you’re a Health Advocate member with our Advocacy services, contact us to speak with a Personal Health Advocate that specializes in behavioral health. The Personal Health Advocate can help you locate in-network providers, inpatient and outpatient programs, understand treatment options as well as research low cost resources in your community. Your Personal Health Advocate can also help you find out if your employer offers an EAP outside of Health Advocate.
- Visiting your company intranet, benefits website or calling your insurance company if you are not a Health Advocate member, to determine what resources are available through your employer.
- Finding a support group. There are many support groups available to help you or your loved one. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a comprehensive database that can help you find a group in your area. You can find the database here. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance also have a directory where you can find support groups
If you are having thoughts that life is not worth living or ideas of harming yourself—seek help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or call 911.