Speaker emphasizes need to recognize, understand symptoms of depression

Jessica Parmelee

Loss of appetite.

Sudden loss of interest in activities.

Having a difficult time making decisions.

These are all signs of depression.

Women from all seven sororities on campus met last night in the Student Center to learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment of depression.

“Depression is a common occurrence and goes unrecognized,” said Allison Bruce from University Health Services. “Students should understand more about depression and that it doesn’t make people crazy.”

Danielle Keckley, Panhellenic Council risk management chair, planned the event because many sorority members were not able to attend Psychological Services’ depression screening in October.

“Depression has become huge on campus and with finals and seasons changing, there is stress for students,” Keckley said.

Students often mistake the signs of depression as stress and do not seek help. The women at the event took a depression screening test that could help them realize if they need help.

Everyone can feel sad at different times in their lives, Bruce said, but if the symptoms last two weeks or more, that individual may be suffering from depression.

Depression can be caused by life-changing events, illness, chemical imbalance or biological vulnerability. Bruce told the audience that if someone has a family member with depression, he or she is more likely to become depressed.

“Depression is not a part of the aging process or a sign of

personal weakness or character flaw,” Bruce said.

Depression is different for everyone, Bruce said. Not all people experience the same symptoms or seek the same treatment.

If a person goes on an anti-depressant, it does not mean he or she needs to stay on the prescription, Bruce said. Therapy and exercise can also treat depression.

“Avoid drugs and alcohol because they are depressants,” Bruce said. ” Get out of the house and avoid making life-changing decisions.”

Depression can lead to suicide because the person may feel it is the only way out, Bruce said. She told the audience that suicide is very serious, and individuals should talk to someone about those feelings. Suicidal behavior is a cry for help, she said.

“Women are more likely to attempt suicide, while men are more successful,” Bruce said.

More information about depression and suicide can be found at www.uhs.kent.edu.

Contact Greek life reporter Jessica Parmelee at [email protected].