How might one support themselves in advance to prevent from sinking into depression or suicide thoughts?

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What is Depression? 

Major Depressive Disorder (Also known as depression) is one of the most common mood disorders that can seriously affect how we think and feel toward our daily lives. According to World Health Organizations, there are more than 264 millions of people of all ages around the world who are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. Depression can cause long-lasting depressed moods, the loss of interest in all activities and things around the affected person, and inability to complete simple tasks in our daily lives. Additionally, severe depression can lead to suicide. 

Here is the criteria for the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder listed in the DSM-V manual: 
1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition.

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Types of Depression

Despite Major Depressive Disorder, there are five other types of depression, and each can be a severe mental health condition.

– Persistent depressive disorder: the depressive mood lasted for at least two years.
– Psychotic depression : depression along with some forms of psychosis. (delusions, hallucinations, etc)
– Seasonal depression: depression followed with a seasonal pattern. 
– Postpartum depression: a type of depression that women may experience after giving birth. 
– Bipolar disorder: even though it’s different from depression, people with bipolar disorder may experience depressive episodes that meet the criteria for depression.

What caused depression?

Is depression a genetic influence? Or is it caused by environmental factors? The answer is both. In fact, depression can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Some of the risk factors may include major life change, horrible trauma such as physical abuse, substance abuse, low self-esteem, age, loss of a loved one, serious illness, and family history of depression. Although depression often begins in adulthood, it is common to occur in children and adolescents. According to WebMD, children, siblings, and parents of people with severe depression are somewhat more likely to have depression than are members of the general population. This does not mean that depression has its own gene, since there are also many other factors that can cause depression, and genes only contribute tiny effects to the diagnosis of depression compared to the social factors.

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How does a person live with depression?

To better understand what it’s like to a person who is diagnosed with major depressive disorder, watch the following TED Talks in which Diana Paige, a 19 years old student, is diagnosed with depression.

So the question is, is there anything we can do to better protect ourselves from being diagnosed with depression?

My Response:

  1. Do exercise regularly
  2. Practice meditation
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Avoid spending too much time on social media
  5. Talk to people & ask for help if you think you are overwhelmed with a depressed mood.
  6. Avoid use of drugs/ alcohol. 
  7. Try to take deep breaths for a few times during your day
  8. Make plans for your day. 

Questions to consider:

1. What might we do to help the people around us who are suffering from depression?
2. How can we bring up more awareness of major depressive order so that people can receive the right treatment as early as possible?



  1. Hi Zihan! I really like your project as it is informative and you chose to cover a very important topic especially during this time where more and more people are getting depressed due to the effects of the pandemic along with other factors.

    1. What might we do to help the people around us who are suffering from depression?

    To help the people around us with depression I would say to be a great listener sometimes people may feel misunderstood or alone so spending some of your time listening to what they have to say and supporting them can be beneficial as it lets them know that they have a support system. When speaking to someone with depression or anyone for that matter be respectful don’t say things such as “it’s all in your head” or “everyone is depressed” because it invalidates their feelings. Spend some time with them it doesn’t have to be talking about depression you could just watch a movie or something, I would also recommend encouraging the person to seek professional help especially if they are having suicidal thoughts. And of course, look after yourself as well because there are certain instances where a friend or family member is trying to help someone with depression and as a result end up with depression themselves.

    2. How can we bring up more awareness of major depressive order so that people can receive the right treatment as early as possible?

    To spread awareness we need to have more conversations about depression, people could share their personal stories and encourage those with depression to seek professional help. You could also use social media to share informational posts and encourage others to educate themselves on the matter.

    1. Thanks for your response! I definitely agree that be a good listener is a simple and effective way to let people with depression know that you care about their thoughts and that you support them. Showing your empathy to people that are struggling with depressed mood let them know that you understand them and that they’re not alone.

  2. Hi Ann!

    This project is really good, I liked how you talked about what exactly depression is, how people get it, why people get it, and how you can sort of avoid, getting to a depressive state. To answer your second question, I think we should things like this. Spread awareness, do a lot of research, so we can start “teaching” other people about this stuff, and from there they can spread the word as well. And if people see how serious and bad this is, they will take action to help people they know to get the treatment and help they need to receive.

  3. Hi Ann! I loved looking through your presentation, I liked how you included lots of informative pictures. To answer your first question, I think one answer to simply listen. While some advice may be beneficial for them, I am sure the person suffering isn’t going to heal after someone saying something useless to them, such as “just look at the positive”. I think instead of attempting to give advice and accidentally invalidating their feelings, be there to listen and then provide further resources to them who are trained, mental health professionals.

  4. Hey Ann!

    Your project is amazing! You chose a great challenge to tackle, and the visuals and videos you provided really helped to further my understanding. I think a large part of raising awareness for depressive disorders is eliminating stigmas. Stigmas would likely interfere with a person’s motivation to reach out and ask for help.

  5. Hello Zihan! I will agree with Alaina and say this was something fantastic to tackle. Very relevant and helpful to many I’m sure! Great choice of topic and your research is extremely accurate and interesting!

  6. Hi Zihan! I thought that your inclusion of the human body graphic did a very good job of illustrating the cognitive, physiological, and biopsychosocial symptoms of depression. My question for you is: regarding patients whose clinical depression is so severe that they cannot exercise, sleep etc. what other preventative measures would you suggest?

  7. Hi Zihan, I thought your project was really interesting and well written, and I thought you did a great job both describing it in enough detail to fully understand what you meant, yet not providing too much or too complex detail that I had no idea what you were referring to. Overall a really good project.

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