If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of depression or know a friend, the information listed here may benefit you. You are always welcome to stop by the MCC Counseling department for additional information and conversation.

When I'm depressed, I see the world through dark sunglasses. Nothing seems bright and happy anymore, and I feel worthless and like a failure.

When I am depressed, I am unmotivated and procrastinate. I could lie in bed all day, and sometimes I do, and I feel like what's the point. I can't smile or laugh, and I often cry to sleep.

When I am depressed, I can't concentrate on my responsibilities. I eat less and less and can't take care of myself. I often don't even care about showering or my appearance.

I just feel sad about everything.

What is depression?

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life causes impaired academic performance and pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.

While there are several forms of depressive disorders, college students can experience depression in college. They face many challenges, pressures and anxieties that can cause them to feel overwhelmed. They are likely to adapt to a new schedule and workload, adjust to life and figure out how to belong.

Money and intimate relationships can also serve as significant sources of stress. Dealing with these changes during adolescence to adulthood can trigger or unmask depression during college in some young adults.

Research tells us that other factors contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical conditions, stress, grief or difficult life circumstances. Any of these factors alone or in combination can precipitate changes in brain chemistry that lead to depression's many symptoms.

Did you know?

One in six Americans will develop major depressions in their lifetime. Major depression affects 121 million people worldwide and women are twice as likely to develop depression as men.

Symptoms of depression

Depression commonly affects your thoughts, emotions, behaviors and overall physical health.

Common symptoms that point to the presence of depression

Of course, we all can expect to experience one or more of these symptoms on occasion and an occurrence of any one of these symptoms on its own does not constitute depression.

When healthcare professionals suspect depression, they commonly look for clusters of these symptoms regularly occurring for two weeks or longer and impacting functional aspects of their lives.

Where can I get help?

Suppose a medical doctor starts with them to rule out any medical condition causing your depression. Your doctor can discuss treatment options and refer you to a mental health professional.

There are many local mental health agencies and resources in Kansas City to support and help you. Many of these agencies have crisis lines that offer support and advice 24 hours a day.

Comprehensive Mental Health Services provides
a crisis line 888.279.8188 and can suggest the next steps for you.

If you have thoughts of wishing you were dead or of suicide, call 911, text START to 741-741,
or call or text 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Depression can get better with care and treatment. Don't wait for depression to go away by itself or think you can manage it all on your own and don't ignore how you feel just as you believe you can "explain" it.

As a college student, you're busy, but you need to make time to get help. If you don't ask for help, depression may worsen and contribute to other health problems and it can rob you of the academic and social enjoyment and success that brought you to college in the first place.

Depression management skills and tools

When it comes to self-care, you are in the driver's seat. Actions in your daily life, such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, relaxation, even a hobby or a friendship - will help determine how well your depression responds to treatment. Below you'll find information on each of the critical components of self-care:

  • Educating yourself - learn the facts about your diagnosis and your treatment plan.
  • Sleep - take steps to develop healthier sleep habits.
  • Exercise - physical activity is a critical component of emotional wellness. Learn how to develop an exercise program that's right for you.
  • Nutrition - learn more about good nutrition, and develop your healthy eating plan.
  • Sticking with your plan - do what it takes to follow your treatment plan.
  • Managing stress - learn to identify the signs of stress and learn about the many different techniques you can try to manage it.
  • Positive self-talk - learn how to recognize negative or unproductive thought patterns and turn them around.
  • Journaling - learn the benefits of writing down your thoughts and feelings and getting started keeping a journal.
  • Spirituality - find out what's involved in developing your spiritual practice and why many people find it helpful.
  • Support systems - think about other people's roles in your recovery and what you can do to build a robust support system.
  • Coping at work - develop strategies for staying healthy and productive on the job.
  • Setting Goals - understand the importance of setting goals and learn how to do goal-setting work for you.

Signs of depression

If you begin to notice signs and symptoms of depression in a friend, there are several steps you can take to get them help. Here are some signs of depression to look for:

  • They are not enjoying activities they once loved
  • They no longer attend classes or social outings
  • They are experiencing extreme anger or sadness over a relationship in their life
  • They react negatively or with apathy to most things
  • They are talking about death or suicide

You won't have all the answers, but you can be a good listener when they attempt to discuss their issues. Offering words of encouragement show your friend you are a source of support rather than one of criticism or judgment.

Avoid telling your friends to "cheer up" or "snap out of it." Many who are depressed are aware of their condition and telling them to get over it, even with good intentions, is not helping. They often don't control how they feel during their downward turns.

It is essential to seek help from professionals for any level of depression. If you feel your friend is at risk, encourage them to seek help and offer to accompany them to the college counseling department.

While talking through their issues with you may be helpful, it is not a substitute for treatment. Depression can worsen or lead to several other mental illnesses if left untreated.

Quiz and Checklist

If you think you might have depression, ask for help.

Start by making an appointment with a doctor or health care provider for a checkup. Your doctor can ensure that you do not have another health problem causing your depression. Suppose your doctor finds that you do not have another health problem. In that case, they can discuss treatment options or refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, counselor or psychologist. A mental health professional can give you a thorough evaluation and treat your depression.

Use this brief 18-question online automated quiz to determine if you need a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment of depression or tracking your depression regularly.

On the depression tool kit website, - you'll find some quick assessments for depression, sleep and substance abuse. Each checklist can be downloaded and completed by hand.

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health; University of Michigan Depression Center; Best; Global Medical Education