The Importance of Depression Awareness
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that alters your normal mood in serious, harmful ways. Like a substantial number of other Americans, you may find yourself affected by this illness.
You may also know someone else who is affected. However, you may not always recognize the symptoms of depression. That is true whether they occur in you or someone else.
This happens more often than you may think, and it can lead to significant consequences.
For example, lack of depression awareness may contribute to lower rates of treatment. It may also reinforce the stigma sometimes associated with depression and other illnesses.
Fortunately, efforts to fight these problems are ongoing. Every year, groups across the country take steps to increase depression awareness.
There are also ongoing efforts to increase the use of depression screenings. By taking advantage of these projects, you help safeguard your own mental health. You also increase the safeguards for your loved ones and society in general.
How Many People in the U.S. Suffer From Depression
Depression is a common issue in everyday American life. Close to four million U.S. teens experience at least one episode of the illness annually. Almost three million of those affected suffer from severe symptoms.
The problem is even more widespread among the nation’s adults. More than 19 million people in this broad age group experience a depressive episode each year. Over 13 million affected adults have symptoms classified as severe.
The rate of depression is not declining. In fact, more people are affected now than just a few years ago. This grim fact holds true for both teenagers and adults.
Most people in the U.S. with serious depression seek appropriate treatment resources. However, over a third of adults who need help do not get it. Lack of treatment is an even bigger issue among depressed teens.
Goals of Depression Awareness
What is mental health awareness? Awareness simply refers to a broader consciousness of such things as:
- The scope of the problem
- The types of available mental illness treatment
- The need to seek treatment when symptoms affect you
The objectives of depression awareness mirrors these larger goals. That includes the need for greater childhood depression awareness.
Is There a Depression Awareness Month?
In past years, the month of October was designated as Depression Awareness Month in the U.S. The month has also been commemorated as National Depression Education and Awareness Month.
However, a couple of important changes have occurred in 2021.
First, groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, no longer separate awareness of depression from other illnesses.
Instead, they now commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month. Observances for 2021 were held last May. The same month will also host future observances.
This does not mean that no events are held in October. For more than 30 years, one week in that month has been designated as Mental Illness Awareness Week.
In 2021, events will take place the week of October 3rd through the 9th. Specific scheduled events include:
- The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding on the 5th
- National Depression Screening Day on the 7th
- NAMIWalks United Day of Hope on the 9th
The day following Mental Illness Awareness Week is designated as World Mental Health Day.
The National Day of Prayer
Each of the scheduled events serves a specific purpose. The National Day of Prayer seeks to involve faith leaders in the quest for greater awareness. Types of observances taking place include:
- Vigils or other ceremonies
National Depression Screening Day
Depression symptoms can only be officially diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional. However, before seeing a professional, you can also undergo a depression screening.
A screening highlights potential symptoms. If problems are indicated, you can follow up with an official depression assessment.
On National Depression Screening Day, you can take advantage of a free screening. There are thousands of participating sites across the country.
NAMIWalks United Day of Hope
Every year, NAMI and a range of sponsors support walks in honor of mental illness awareness. These walks usually take place in person. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may also take place virtually over the Internet.
Is There a Depression Awareness Day?
In the past, some organizations honored National Depression Awareness Day. However, no specific day has been designated for 2021. National Depression Screening Day serves as the closest equivalent event.
Is There a Depression Awareness Color or Depression Awareness Ribbon?
Colors are often used to designate special events like awareness days. Green serves as a symbolic color for depression and depression awareness.
Advocates use the same color for awareness of mental illness in general. Ribbons are also used as symbols of commemoration.
This means that you will find green ribbons used to symbolize depression awareness. You will also find them used to symbolize mental illness awareness.
Awareness Months for Other Mental Health Conditions
Mental Health Awareness Month and Mental Illness Awareness Week address all kinds of conditions. This means that there is no Anxiety Awareness Month or any other separate awareness month recognized nationwide.
However, during the existing campaigns, light is shined on the broader issue of mental illness awareness in America. Advocacy for depression and anxiety treatment plays a key role.
That is true because more people suffer from these conditions than any other type of mental illness.
Holiday Depression Awareness
During certain times of the year, you may wonder, “why is my depression so bad right now?” This is especially true when holiday season arrives.
During this annual season, many people find themselves under more stress than usual. That extra stress can make your existing depression symptoms worse.
In some cases, it may also contribute to the development of new cases of depression. Many organizations maintain resources for holiday depression awareness. Examples of these organizations include NAMI and the Mayo Clinic.
Awareness of Seasonal Affective Disorder
The “holiday blues” are not always related to the stress of holiday planning and celebration.
That time of year, some people suffer from a specific form of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The condition may also affect you in summertime.
No one knows exactly why SAD occurs. It appears to be linked to how changes in light levels alter your body’s production of certain chemicals.
The illness is also sometimes passed down from generation to generation. Awareness of SAD may help you detect its potential effects and seek needed treatment.
Depression Awareness Quotes
Meaningful quotes can also help boost awareness of the seriousness of depression. Quotes that you may find helpful for yourself or others include:
“Depression has been called the world’s number one public health problem. In fact, depression is so widespread it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances. But there is a grim difference between depression and a cold. Depression can kill you.”
– David D. Burns, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Stanford University
“Getting better from depression demands a lifelong commitment. I’ve made that commitment for my life’s sake and for the sake of those who love me.”
– Susan Polis Schutz, Poet
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
– Fred Rogers
Depression Awareness and Helping Those Suffering
It is crucial to remember that depression awareness furthers the goal of encouraging treatment. Today, mental health specialists can address depression symptoms in multiple ways.
Medication and psychotherapy form of the bulk of effective treatment.
Some recovery plans combine these two options. Other plans only make use of one of them. Either approach may work in your situation.
In rare cases, a depression plan may also include electroconvulsive therapy. A very high percentage of affected people will benefit from at least one of the available treatment options.
That includes people with severe depression symptoms.
Learn More About Depression Awareness and Depression Treatment
Millions of Americans with diagnosable major depression do not seek treatment. This is an avoidable national tragedy.
Today, doctors have evidence-based methods of treating depression. These methods provide symptom relief in the vast majority of cases.
Mental Health Awareness Month draws attention to the gap between available treatment and treatment use.
Mental Illness Awareness Week serves the same purpose. Together, they help promote change on a local and nationwide level.
For more information, contact the experts at Emerald Isle. We understand the importance of depression awareness. We also understand the importance of providing effective resources for depression treatment.
That is why we offer a variety of resources for your treatment needs. Available offerings includes our inpatient program. You can also take advantage of several forms of outpatient treatment.
In addition, Emerald Isle offers other forms of assistance. If you feel you may be suffering from depression, our mental health assessment allows us to detect any symptoms.
We also provide treatment for the combined effects of depression and substance problems. Call us today to learn more about how we diagnose and treat the symptoms of depression.