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As many as 1 in 8 students struggles with depression. You may wonder what the difference is between being seriously bummed out or sad and being clinically “depressed.”

Everyone has rough times. Big events like divorce, a death, moving, or a breakup can trigger depression. Depression can also occur without an obvious reason. A period of sadness versus true depression can be hard to diagnose and should be left to a professional to analyze. Persistence is a key sign – “normal” sadness goes away. Things to pay attention for are whether the person feels better within a few days or a week. When those feelings of sadness continue for weeks, it’s time to talk to someone.

If you or a friend can’t get past the sad or hopeless feelings, talk to a parent or trusted adult. Tell them how you are feeling and that these feelings have been persistent for a while. Physical symptoms, like recurring headaches or changes in sleeping patterns, can also accompany depression.

There is help and hope so you can feel better! Don’t hide it -- it’s not your fault or anything you’ve done. It’s a medical issue, just like healing a broken bone. Please talk to a trusted adult, and seek help with a professional.

Top Depression Warning Signs

  • Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Significant change in eating habits
  • Lack of interest in doing anything
  • Lack of enjoyment in any situation
  • Inability to make a decision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Recurring headaches or stomach aches with other symptoms
  • Waking up early and unable to go back to sleep

Recognizing and understanding depression is vital.