Depression Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Susan Alexander, 45th Space Wing Violence Prevention office
At times, we all experience sadness or feeling down, these feelings usually disappear.

Depression on the other hand is much more serious.

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, if you feel any of the symptoms below, either most of the day, nearly every day, or at least two weeks, then you may be experiencing depression. These are some of the symptoms:

• Feeling sad or empty
• No longer enjoy hobbies or hanging out with friends and family
• Feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless
• Loss of energy, tired, or “slowed down”
• Having trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
• Difficulty sleeping or waking up early in the morning or sleeping too much
• Loss of appetite, or gaining/losing weight
• Easily agitated or restless
• Having aches or pains, headaches, cramps, digestive problems without a clear physical cause, and/or that do not improve with treatment
• Having thoughts of death or suicide or attempting suicide

If you are experiencing depression or you know someone who has depression, it is important for you to know that it’s treatable. Reach out for help, if you are unsure where to go for help, ask your health care provider or someone in your chain-of-command.

Our installation’s helping agencies i.e., Chaplain, Mental Health, Military and Family Life Counselor, and Family Advocacy, are available to help you.

For help, dial 494-CARE and press the number to the helping agency that you would like to be connected to. Additional resources are shown below:

• Family doctor/provider
• Mental health professional
• Base Employee Assistance Program – 1-800-222-0364/
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Toll free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
NOTE: Comments about suicide should be taken seriously. Remember ACE; Ask, Care, Escort, and the importance of getting friends, family, or co-workers to safety.
• Ask the question directly, “are you thinking of killing yourself”?
• Care for the person by calmly controlling the situation, do not use force/be safe, and actively listen to show understanding.
• Escort to chain-of-command, Chaplain, behavioral health professional or primary care provider.

In addition to seeking help, below are some ways that you can help yourself or help others:

• Break large tasks into small ones and do what you can when you can
• Exercise – jog, bike, and do yoga (i.e., breathing exercises and meditation)
• Participate in activities that may make you feel better
• Loosen up positive emotions through creativity (i.e., painting, writing, or composing music)
• Let family and friends help
• Expect your mood or their mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Feeling better takes time

The good news is that depression can be treated. Getting help is the best thing that you can do whether it is for yourself or someone you know.

Questions pertaining to this article, may be directed to the 45th Space Wing Violence Prevention office at 321-494-3743.