By SUSANNA LUCIDO
Did you know that one in four Americans will experience depression at some point in their life? That just about guarantees at least one of your family members or friends suffers from depression.
In 2010, suicide was the number one cause of death from a mental illness. So why aren’t we fixing this problem?
Granted, counseling and medication are expensive, but there are ways around that. Schools, health insurance, and clinics all provide cheap therapy, but In the end, the reason we ignore this giant problem is because it is taboo in our culture. People feel uncomfortable talking about mental illness because we simply don’t understand it.
So, in an effort to help at least one person struggling with depression, here are the facts. There are many causes of depression including abuse, certain medications, genetics, serious illnesses, and substance abuse. Honestly, anything can trigger depression in anyone. Worse yet, over 80% of depressed people can be effectively treated. From that, only 30% actually get help, this is truly unacceptable.
Depression is not like cancer. It can be cured. Why do we turn our heads when the topic of depression comes up if it seems so minor? Our friends, family, and maybe even you are dealing with it right now, but the sad reality is that people around us are suffering. Sometimes they hide it well, sometimes they project it with anger, and sometimes they get treatment. But 5 percent of the time they commit suicide. Thats about 30,000 deaths just last year.
They tell you to know the symptoms: difficulty remembering, feelings of guilt, insomnia, irritability, loss of interest, persistent aches and pains, anxious or sad feelings, and thoughts of suicide. But what they don’t tell you is that its not that easy to detect.
After recently losing my own brother, I can tell you that the symptoms are not always there. He was a happy, active, college student, one whom everyone loved. From the outside, he wasn’t suicidal or even depressed. His own roommates couldn’t see it. We never think suicide will actually affect our own lives, so trust your gut instinct and come to the reality that it could happen to anyone.
Overreact. Reach out, even if you aren’t sure. Every hour of everyday that you choose not to act matters. Instead, choose to stare the disease of depression in the face, choose to hold your loved one’s hand through the entire process of recovery, and most of all, choose not to take “I’m fine” for an answer.