More Than Just The Blues: Spotlight on Depression

Everyone one has periods of feeling down or sad, or in a negative rut. For some, this might last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. However, extended periods of sadness could also indicate depression. In fact, depression is the most common mental health issue reported by UBC students. It is important to recognize that depression is an illness, but like all illnesses, it is one that can be managed and treated.

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There is no one cause for depression, however, there are factors that can make some more prone to depressive feelings in the face of loss or failure. Distressing life events such as a serious loss, disappointment or accident, biochemical imbalances in the brain and psychological factors such as a negative or pessimistic outlook on life can work independently or in combination on those persons who suffer from depression.
Symptoms of depression also vary. They range from:

  • Feeling worthless, hopeless or helpless
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
  • Change in sleeping habits – sleeping more or less than usual
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Increased restlessness or irritability
  • Avoiding other people
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Having a number of these symptoms on an ongoing basis could mean you or someone you know might suffer from clinical depression. These symptoms can affect many aspects of your life, including personal well-being, daily activities, social interactions and relationships, and academic performance. However, by implementing some strategies for managing your mood, you’ll be taking steps towards taking control of your mental health. Most importantly, involve family, friends and health professionals in the process to help you overcome difficult periods in your life.
Tips for success over depression:

  1. Set small achievable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed by committments, deadlines and responsibilities. Prioritize your action items, and achieving them will have a postive impact.
  2. Maintain a balanced lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, regular sleep, AND having fun.
  3. Avoid alcohol and other substances that can exacerbate a low mood.
  4. Turn that frown upside down! Try to counter negative thinking by positive, self-supportive thoughts to regain a balanced perspective.
  5. Stay connected with a supportive network. Friends and family will enhance your self-esteem and recover from periods of feeling low. Talk with people who care about you.
  6. Inform yourself! Knowledge is power, researching and talking to professionals can provide more skills and tools to help you manage your vulnerabilities.

There are a number of resources on campus to help students overcome depression. Rather than suffer alone and in silence, taking advantage of these resources can help set you on the path to recovery.

  • UBC Counselling Services. Located in 1040 Brock Hall: 604-822-3811.
  • Student Health Service: 604-822-7011
  • UBC Health Clinic: 604-822-5231
  • Human Solutions (for faculty and staff): 1-800-663-1142
  • 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

Information in this article provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association and UBC Counselling, Health and Wellness.

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