Depression 101

As part of Her Campus Exeter's Mental & Physical Health Awareness Campaign we will be exploring the dangers of Depression. This campaign hopes to raise awareness of mental & physical illnesses within the student population, and break the misconception that if you can't see it then it's not there.

Even though there seems to be a rise in awareness, understanding and knowledge when it comes to depression, there is still a huge stigma surrounding the illness. When I learnt that one of my friends had gone through depression, I wanted to see if there was a right and wrong thing to say, if there was something I had to do or something I never should do and ultimately if there was a way for me to be a good friend around that person. That is why, in honour of our mental and physical awareness month, HCX has decided to create a guide of general things that are encouraged and others that are not. The aim is for you to be even more educated and considerate when confronted with depression and people suffering from it.

The truth is that depression is scary. It’s scary for those who don’t know anything about it, it’s scary for those who are watching their loved ones struggle through it and scary for those who have been diagnosed and don’t recognise themselves anymore. Hopefully, the small list of Do’s and Don’ts which will follow will be helpful. Here it goes:

  • Don’t- say “I’m depressed” if you’re not. This only trivialises the disorder. Saying this, even in a seemingly harmless way, hurts the acknowledgment of the general public that clinical depression is indeed an illness and not just a mood.
  • Do check up regularly on people who you know are going through a tough time or have been through depression before. They are more susceptible to being depressed and certain types of depression ARE preventable (the kinds that are not triggered by a chemical malfunction in the brain).
  • Don’t - ignore it when someone says they are depressed. Instead make sure to talk about it with them so you can orient them towards seeking help, this is crucial. Early detection of depression helps achieve a faster recovery and lessens the chances of relapse and suicide. They can either contact a doctor, a therapist or a support group, as long as they do seek help.
  • Do - learn how to spot depression symptoms. A few of them are unhealthy sleeping patterns, noticeable weight gain or loss, low self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. If you notice that something is wrong, act upon it immediately and seek help. 

With the hopes that this small list is helpful here as some links which can prove to be useful:

SupportLine Telephone Helpline (UK based): 01708 765200

Samaritans: 116 123