Depression Awareness

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Mental disorders can affect any of us at anytime. According to the World Health Organization, “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.”

Approximately 57.7 million Americans experience a mental health disorder in a given year. Especially Anxiety and Depression rates have been growing significantly. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” These statistics were recorded in 2001.

Following the report of suicide.org in July last year, on average, a teen takes his or her own life every 100 minutes. Suicide is now the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, and the overall tenth leading cause of death in America. About 20 percent of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood, and between 10 to 15 percent suffer from symptoms at any one time. Around only 30 percent of depressed teens are being treated for it.

Symptoms for Major Depression Disorder goes as follows: Irregular changes in sleep, and/or appetite; loss of interest and concentration; low self-esteem; hopelessness. “MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old.”

Jaxon Adams, a Junior here at Westlake, allowed me to share his story. Diagnosed with depression at a few years ago, he expressed his struggles and how he learned to cope with his mental health condition. “(Depression has affected me personally)… in a few different ways. If I forget to take my antidepressants for a day or two, it really shows through. I don’t have any motivation to do anything, I have a bleak outlook on life, feel like a failure in several ways, and often feel suicidal. When I’m on my medication though (which I usually am), I take steps to make sure I’m doing everything I can to be happy. I likely wouldn’t have become so religiously active if I hadn’t been diagnosed with depression four years ago.”  I asked him if he thought mental illnesses should be recognized as something that society needs to be more aware of: “Yes, definitely. There’s an awful stigma associated with depression and mental illness in general, so much so that for years I was afraid to tell anyone what I was dealing with. I’m sure others have felt the same way. If society knew it was a problem that could be fixed and treated it as such, I’m sure it would save a lot of people from unnecessary pain and suffering.”