Depression: What It Can Lead To
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
What exactly is depression? What does it feel like?
Depression is a serious illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It is a very common mental illness. The good thing is that it can be treated. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities that one once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function in every day life.
Symptoms of Depression:
- Changes in appetite – dramatic weight loss or weight gain
- Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
- Loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or staying focused
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Persistent sadness, anxiety, or “empty” feeling
- Thoughts of suicide
To some people, depression feels like you are constantly wearing a mask to hide your true feelings. Hiding those true feelings can become very exhausting to the point of it gets harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning and the participate in activities. To others, depression is the worst sickness or just an overwhelming sense of sadness that grows. For anyone who feels this way for long periods of time should seek help.
Depression has always been an interesting topic for me because the number of people who deal with this issue seems to grow more and more. I think there needs to be more awareness on the situation especially for kids in middle school, high school, and maybe even college. I know firsthand what it is like to have depression and when I first had it in middle school, I really had no knowledge on it because school never spoke about it. Researching was the way to go for me. It is my understanding that people with depression just want to be heard. I wanted to be heard but I felt that if I were to talk about it, no one would understand me. And from that, I kept everything inside.
Andrew Solomon discusses how he dealt with depression and how having depression made small tasks these huge deals. In his talk, he speaks about all the thoughts that one with depression has and the feeling they have. Most people with depression or that have had depression can relate to what he is discussing because they all go through those waves of dark thoughts. Not many people are open with finding out where the depression stems from but during Solomon’s study of depression, he wanted to find where it all came from. Everyone is different and suffers differently, there can be similar aspects of the mental illness that people share but when is comes to treatment, there are different ways that people react to treatment.
About 15 million Americans suffer from depression. It is important to address the issue at a young age when kids are prone to developing this mental illness. The challenge is emphasizing the importance of knowing this information in middle school and high school. Posters, health classes, and even guidance counselors are a start for making this issue known. When interviewing my therapist, she believes that there needs to be more awareness and more of a support system for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college adults. Depression is a well known mental illness because so many people suffer from it every day.
Not many people know what is feels like to suffer from it or how bad the illness is affecting someone. Everyone suffers differently but the point is that more awareness needs to be brought to this so it can be caught before it is too late.
With this I am hoping to show the importance of this mental illness and how schools should introduce to topic of depression and other mental illnesses early. Depression is so common and it should be discussed as kids enter middle school so they know a little about it and how to stop it or what to do if they have it. Guidance counselors should be in every school so teens can have someone to go to for help. I am currently reviving a club called Stressed Anonymous in my high school because the club was really helpful for individuals who are dealing with too much at a time. The club promotes healthy living like doing things you like to do and learning how to deal with the everyday struggles of being a teenager. Meetings will take place at least once or twice a week so people can share their issues they are dealing with and have the counselor give them advice on how to overcome the situation.
The point of the club is to be an open, non-judgmental safe space for people to speak about their problems. It is for everyone to listen and help come up with ways to fight against depression, stress, anxiety, and other issues someone may be dealing with.
I am not sure how I will get teens to take the topic seriously because I know some may joke about it. But I want them to somehow soak in the information and make them think a little differently about about this mental illness can hurt them or maybe those around them. By sharing this information on social media, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. more and more individuals can know how to tell what it is and stop it early. Follow my instagram account: depressionsession144 for more information on how to cope with depression and anxiety.