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Depression Treat it as if you life depended on it.

A Guide for Suicide Prevention


What is depression?

Depression is a recognizable and treatable illness.

Treating depression helps people lead happier, healthier lives. It can also save lives. Depression is a medical illness of the brain that affects moods, thoughts, feelings, behavior and physical health. Unlike the "blues," depression lasts longer than a couple weeks and won't go away with positive thinking or determination. Depression needs treatment. Treating depression is the most effective way to prevent suicide.


Depression in youth

People often dismiss depression in youth as typical teenage behavior. Depression is not an adolescent phase; it is a serious medical illness. Some common symptoms of depression in teens are: anger, loss of interest in activities, changes in eating patterns, sleeping too much and drug and alcohol use.

Treatment for depression could save a teenager's life. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people 10 to 15 years old.


Depression in men

In our society men often feel pressure to suppress emotional pain. Their depression may manifest itself in other ways that society deems more masculine such as, substance use, irritability and anger, or isolation.

People often do not realize that these behaviors are symptoms of depression. Untreated depression can have tragic consequences; men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women.


Depression in the elderly

Elderly people are more likely to experience significant losses, such as death of a spouse or deteriorating health. However, depression is more than grief and it's not a normal part of the aging process. Common symptoms in the elderly include: pessimism, lack of energy or interest in activities, and too much sleep or loss of sleep. Elderly men have the highest suicide rates.


Treating Depression

Depression is a recognizable and treatable illness that more than 19 million Americans suffer from each year. Unfortunately, the National Institute on Mental Health estimates that only 1 in 3 people with depression gets help. People may not seek treatment for depression because they don't recognize it, are ashamed or believe they can pull themselves out of it on their own.

Like heart disease, diabetes or asthma, depression needs to be treated by a medical professional. If you have or someone you know has symptoms of depression, request a depression screening from a health care professional. Depression is successfully treated in more than 80 percent of cases using medication and/or therapy.


Anyone can be touched by depression

Depression has a biological basis and can happen at any time - even when a person's life seems to be going well. For some people, depression can be triggered or exacerbated by traumatic or stressful situations, such as: death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce or a chronic illness. It's important to remember that anyone can suffer from depression.

Everyone deserves to be healthy.


Suicide and depression

Each year, more than 30,000 people die by suicide in the U.S., making it the eighth leading cause of death. Experts estimate that 95 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or a related depressive illness.

Asking a health care professional for a depression screening and undergoing treatment for depression may save your life or the life of someone you love.


Symptoms of depression

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Feeling angry or moody, crying easily
  • Alcohol or drug use to mask feelings
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in ordinary activities
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Persistent physical pains or conditions that don't respond to treatment
  • Feeling sad, empty or numb
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide plans or attempts

Warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about suicide
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Suddenly happier, calmer
  • Unusual visiting or calling people one cares about
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order
  • Giving things away
  • Acquiring guns or stockpiling pills
  • Previous suicide attempts




If you or someone you know are in
crisis, call 1.800.SUICIDE
(Toll Free in the U.S., 24 hours / 7 days).
More information is available online:


Developed by Suicide Awareness Voices
of Education (SAVE) and the Minnesota
Department of Human Service
Distributed by the Minnesota Department of Health


Save - Suicide Awareness Voices of Education Minnesota Department of Health Minnesota Department of Human Services



© Cass County, MN, 2014