Do you wonder why there is an awareness month for depression, or when is depression awareness month? We’re digging into when it is, and why it is crucial that we observe it.
Depression is a topic that has taken center stage in recent times, particularly with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, a staggering 264 million people across the globe grapple with depression, and tragically, many cases remain undiagnosed. It’s a stark reminder of the importance of spreading awareness about depression and reaching out to those who may be silently suffering.
The good news is, that we have an entire month devoted to shedding light on depression, a golden opportunity to educate individuals about this condition and encourage those in need to seek help.
Disclaimer for Our Discussion on Depression Awareness Month
First thing, before we get started, we highly recommend that if you have thoughts of harming yourself, you call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or you can visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
We take the topic of mental health seriously. Please reach out for help if you feel that you are having your own mental health issues or questions at all. We are not medical professionals nor are we giving medical advice. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information.
When is Depression Awareness Month?
October isn’t just about falling leaves and pumpkin spice lattes; it’s also Depression Awareness Month. This month-long observance is a chance to dismantle the stigma surrounding depression and mood disorders, to extend a welcoming hand to those who need diagnosis and treatment, and to rally around those bravely facing depression.
During this time, various organizations and mental health professionals step up their efforts. They host events and launch campaigns with a singular mission: to educate people about depression and chip away at the stubborn stigma that often clings to this condition.
Throughout Depression Awareness Month, you’ll find an array of events designed to raise awareness and offer much-needed support. These may include community walks and runs, promoting the benefits of physical exercise in improving mental health.
There are mental health forums, workshops, and peer support groups, along with treatment programs for individuals navigating depression and other mood disorders.
But it’s not just about the formal events; it’s also a time for people to share their personal stories and build a community of support.
Social media campaigns harness the power of hashtags like #EndtheStigma or #LetsTalkAboutDepression, creating spaces for individuals to connect, open up about their experiences, and provide valuable insights for those walking a similar path. It’s a time for unity, for sharing, and for lending a helping hand to those who need it most.
October is a month of significance in the realm of mental health. It’s not just about the crisp autumn air and falling leaves; it’s a time when we collectively shed light on important issues. October marks Mental Illness Awareness Month, a time dedicated to understanding the complexities of mental health, addressing stigmas, and fostering support.
One critical aspect often highlighted during this month is the role of behavioral health. This encompasses a wide spectrum of conditions, from anxiety disorders to depression and beyond. It’s an opportunity for individuals to engage in health screenings and reflect on their mental well-being, ensuring that they are taking care of their emotional health just as they would their physical health.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) often rears its head during the fall and winter months, which makes October particularly timely for this discussion. As the days grow shorter and the sun’s warmth wanes, individuals with SAD may experience heightened symptoms of depression. It’s a reminder of the connection between mental health and external factors.
Moreover, October is also ADHD Awareness Month, focusing on conditions that often intersect with mental health issues. Many individuals with ADHD may experience co-occurring mental health challenges, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive care and support.
But amidst these discussions, it’s crucial not to forget the gravity of the issue. Suicide prevention remains a vital component of mental health awareness. It’s a reminder that seeking help and support is a sign of strength, not weakness. By recognizing the signs of depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral health concerns, we can intervene and save lives.
October is more than just falling leaves; it’s a season of reflection and action, a time when we collectively embrace Mental Illness Awareness Month to foster understanding, compassion, and support for all those impacted by mental health challenges.
National Depression Screening Day
One significant event to mark on your calendar during this month is National Depression Screening Day, happening on October 7th. It’s a day that encourages individuals to take anonymous depression screening tests and, if needed, to seek the support and treatment they deserve.
Mental health experts widely endorse this campaign, emphasizing the importance of proactive steps toward mental well-being and the crucial role it plays in raising awareness about depression and its warning signs.
And don’t forget, October is not just about a day; it’s an entire month dedicated to Depression and Mental Health Awareness and Screening. It’s a time to prioritize your mental health and join the conversation around these vital topics.
If you are looking for a specialist who treats depression, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
What Happens at a Depression Screening?
A depression screening often carried out in a clinical or healthcare setting, is a brief checkup to get a sense of your mental well-being and figure out if depressive symptoms might be in the mix. Your healthcare provider may conduct this screening or a qualified mental health provider will.
Here’s how it usually goes down:
Chat or Questionnaire
You’ll have a chat or fill out a structured questionnaire, usually with a healthcare pro or a mental health expert. They’ll ask you a bunch of questions to get a feel for your mood, thoughts, and feelings.
Those questions are geared toward figuring out if you’ve been dealing with any of those classic depression symptoms. You know, stuff like feeling persistent down, losing interest in things you once enjoyed, changes in eating or sleeping habits, fatigue, guilt, concentration troubles, and even thoughts of death or suicide.
Time and Intensity
They might want to know how long you’ve been feeling this way and how intense those feelings are. Typically, for a full-blown diagnosis of major depressive disorder (you might have heard it called clinical depression), these symptoms need to hang around for at least two weeks and mess with your daily life.
Health and Family History
Expect questions about your medical history, whether depression runs in the family, and any meds or substances you’re using. Sometimes, certain health conditions or meds can mimic depression symptoms.
The provider uses established criteria, like the ones laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), to figure out if your symptoms line up with depression.
Other Stuff That Matters
They might dig into any recent life events or stressors that could be playing a part in how you’re feeling.
The Score and Talk
Depending on the tool they use, your answers might get a score to gauge the likelihood of depression. They’ll go over the results with you.
Based on what they find, they’ll give you some recommendations. That could include more in-depth evaluation. Moreover, it can involve treatment options like therapy or psychiatric medication. Lifestyle tweaks, or maybe a referral to a mental health specialist may be an option. The screener can usually direct you to affordable options available.
We also recommend accessible therapy and affordable therapy with Mental Health Match. Many therapists with Mental Health Match have a sliding fee scale for therapist options.
Remember, a depression screening isn’t the final word. It’s more like a starting point to see if more support is needed. If it suggests that depression might be in play, it’s super important to follow up with a mental health pro for a deeper dive and the right kind of help.
The good news is that depression is treatable, and getting help early on can really turn things around for the better. Oftentimes, seeing a sign of hope in the form of treatment can make the biggest difference.
ADAA has a screening you can complete on their website. They advise you to complete it and take it to a professional for your official screening.
History of Depression Awareness Week to Month
Depression Awareness Month was first introduced in the United States in 1990 by the Mental Health America organization. It began as a weekly observance, but in 1994 the entire month of October was dedicated to raising awareness for depression. Since then, many organizations and non-profits have continued to promote awareness and education about depression during this month.
How Can You Get Involved?
There are many ways you can get involved in Depression Awareness Month. We have talked in great detail about how you can get involved with World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness in general. Your involvement is not much different. Mental Health conditions are often scrutinized in society.
Depression is something that people often judge. Some even make comments that one should “snap out of it” or “think positive”. This isn’t the solution for someone with depression.
You can start by educating yourself about the signs and symptoms of depression, risk factors, and available treatments. You can also spread awareness by sharing information and resources on social media or hosting an event in your community.
Numerous organizations provide resources and support systems to those dealing with depression, and any assistance that you can offer would make a significant difference. Many counties and non-profit organizations provide affordable mental health screenings.
If You or Someone You Love May Be Experiencing Depression
It is important to get help. SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline is your lifeline, available 24/7, 365 days a year, in both English and Spanish. It’s a confidential, free service that provides treatment referrals and essential information for individuals and families navigating mental health and substance use disorders.
Don’t hesitate to reach out when you or a loved one needs help. The helpline is just a call away at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please get help immediately. You are not alone. You may call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or you can visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Depression Education – Reducing the Stigma
Depression Awareness Month is a time to break the stigma around mental illness. It is meant to show support for those affected by depression. It can provide help and resources to those who need it. With education and empathy, it’s possible to build awareness. It’s also possible to promote positive mental health habits, and develop a supportive community for those affected by depression.
Funding for mental health services is also important as health care costs are on the rise. It is especially important to educate yourself on the different types of depression. Lots of people assume that severe symptoms of depression are a normal part of life.
They may be told that they are experiencing normal feelings of sadness. While that may be true, if you are unsure, do not belittle or negate anyone’s feelings, especially if they are open to talking about it.
Types of Depression
You know, there are different kinds of depression, each with its own unique traits and signs. Let’s talk about five of the common ones:
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
When folks say “depression,” they often mean this one. MDD is when someone goes through ongoing and serious depression symptoms that really mess with their daily life. It could mean feeling super sad, losing interest in stuff you used to love, changes in eating or sleeping habits, feeling tired all the time, thinking you’re worthless, having trouble focusing or even having thoughts about death or suicide. To get an MDD diagnosis, these symptoms need to stick around for at least two weeks.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
PDD, which used to be called dysthymia, is like the marathon of depression. It lasts for at least two years, and while the symptoms might not be as intense as MDD, they just keep on going. It often means feeling sad all the time, having low energy, and not caring about things you used to enjoy.
Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
Bipolar disorder is like a rollercoaster for your mood. People with bipolar go through phases of depression (kinda like MDD), but they also have episodes of mania or hypomania. Mania means feeling super high, having tons of energy, acting impulsively, and sometimes doing risky stuff. There are different types of bipolar, like bipolar I and bipolar II.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD is all about timing—it shows up in certain seasons, usually fall and winter when there’s less daylight. It can mean feeling low on energy, sleeping more, gaining weight, and having a constant sadness hanging over you. Folks often use light therapy and lifestyle tweaks, like getting more sunlight and regular exercise, to tackle SAD.
This one hits new moms and sometimes dads too, after the birth of a baby. It’s all about feeling down, losing interest in things, having sleep problems, and just not feeling the joy you’d expect after having a baby. It can happen in the weeks or months following childbirth.
And hey, there are more types of depression out there, like atypical depression, psychotic depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), each with its own set of signs and criteria. Depression is a complex thing, and a healthcare pro can give the scoop on what’s going on based on someone’s specific feelings and history.
Let’s Be Aware All Year Round!
While Depression Awareness Month is in October, it’s essential to keep the conversation going throughout the entire year and to support others in their journey to better mental health. The topic of depression is one that many stay away from.
It’s not as buzzworthy as anxiety, or being anxious. Depression is a medical condition. There is treatment for depression. A qualified mental health provider is the best option to discuss the red flags you are witnessing or experiencing.
Let’s continue to spread awareness about depression, conduct mental health screenings, and show support and understanding for those going through the experience.
FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions
Depression can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It varies from person to person.
Yes, depression is more than occasional sadness. It involves persistent, long-lasting symptoms that interfere with daily life.
Yes, depression can affect individuals of all ages, including children and teenagers. It may manifest differently in younger individuals.