Depression: what we all need to know

It's more than being a little blue

This may be the most important thing to know about depression: It’s not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It’s a serious illness — like heart disease or diabetes. Doctors can screen for it — and treat it to help people get their lives back.

You deserve better — help is out there

Depression is more than feeling sad. It can make it hard to function day to day — and it can rob you of your ability to enjoy your life. Treatment — typically talk therapy, medication or both — may help you feel more like yourself again.1

If someone is clinically depressed, they can’t just “snap out of it.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Most people need treatment to get better.
  • Generally, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is.
  • It’s never too late to seek help.

Support resources

Depression affects people in different ways

Symptoms may vary from mild to severe. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms for 2 weeks or longer, talk with your doctor.

  • Feeling sad or hopeless, or having a low mood.
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep — or sleeping too much.
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat.
  • Feeling worthless or guilty.
  • Losing pleasure in activities once enjoyed — such as hobbies or sex.
  • Being fatigued or having decreased energy.
  • Having trouble concentrating, thinking or making decisions.
  • Moving or speaking so slowly that other people notice — or doing purposeless physical activity, such as pacing or hand
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide.

What to do next

Speak up — even if it’s difficult. Not sure how to bring it up with your doctor? You might try something like this: “I haven’t been myself lately. I think I may have depression — and I’d like some help.”

Your workplace may also provide a confidential employee assistance program that can put you in touch with professional help.

Get help with finding a Mental Health Provider

If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, get emergency help right away.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for:

  • 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress
  • Prevention and crisis resources for you or loved ones 
  • Best practices for professionals

Footnotes

  1. Check your benefit plan to see what services may be covered.