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Facts of depression, ways to help those who suffer

By Alexis Tucker, Managing Editor

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It is a thing that lingers inside many people. It’s hard to notice, but the scars are still there. Depression is a disease that affects so many, and yet, so few talk about it, especially when it may lead to those affected taking their own lives.

From the National Institute of Mental Health, on the national level, suicide is the second leading cause for people between the ages of 15 and 34, and suicide is the tenth leading cause in all ages. The male suicide rate is much higher in the 15 through 24 than women’s with men at roughly 18 per 100,000 and women at 5 per 100,000. Since 1999, the suicide rates have been increasing.

In Michigan, over twice as many people die by suicide than by homicide, and every 6 hours, someone commits suicide. The suicide rate in Michigan is above the national average as well. The national average is around 13.26 per 100,000, and Michigan’s rate is 13.74 per 100,000.

Depression shows its head in many ways and depends on the person. The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression as, “a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”

People who suffer from depression might stop liking the things they love or become disinterested in their hobbies, and might stop participating in social events. People may eat a lot or their appetite might be nonexistent, and sleeping too much or too little is also a sign.

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Also, pay attention when someone starts giving things away, saying goodbye or putting their affairs in order. This could be a clue whether or not suicidal thoughts are present.

Thoughts of suicide are unnoticeable to those on the outside, but these other symptoms should help one recognize depression in its other forms. It is hard to know what is going on in another person’s head, especially when they are suicidal, but noticing their behavior can make a huge difference.

Knowing how to recognize when someone may be dealing with something is the first step in many. There are many options, and mainly, it is important to talk about one’s feelings with a general practitioner.

They may know some specialists and psychiatrists that are nearby, which will help get people on track. Psychiatrists will talk with the patient, and eventually, a diagnosis will be made. Therapy is recommended to coincide with the prescribed medication, and it is also imperative to be on a proper diet and to exercise.

All the previous information is to help those affected now, but there are people that won’t see their family members, friends or someone else in their lives because of depression, because they took their life.

For those who are suffering from depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.