If you have a medical doctor start 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 you support and advice 24 hours a day.
Comprehensive Mental Health Services provides a crisis line (888.279.8188) and can suggest next steps for you. If you have thoughts of wishing you were dead or of suicide call 911, text START to 741-741, or dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255), for free 24-hour help.
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’re feeling just because you think 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 get worse and contribute to other health problems, while robbing you of the academic and social enjoyment and success that brought you to college in the first place.
What are skills and tools to help me manage my depression?
When it comes to self-care, you are in the driver’s seat. The steps you take and the decisions you make in every aspect of your daily life – nutrition, sleep, exercise, relaxation, even a hobby or a friendship – will help determine how well your depression responds to treatment. In this section of the website you’ll find information on each of the key 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 to emotional wellness. Learn how to develop an exercise program that’s right for you.
- Nutrition – learn more about good nutrition, and develop your own 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 find out 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 how to get started keeping a journal.
- Spirituality – find out what’s involved in developing your own spiritual practice, and why many people find it helpful.
- Support systems – think about the role other people play in your recovery, and what you can do to build a strong 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 make goal-setting
work for you.
What should I do if I start to notice signs of depression in a friend?
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
It almost goes without saying that 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 shows 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 have control over how they feel during their downward turns.
It is important to seek help from professionals for any level of depression, so 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 a number of other mental illnesses if left untreated.