Published on December 2, 2015 | by Gavin Yakuse-Duffy Photography by MesserWoland0
Depression: There is help
When Katie Purdy, a third-year student at the University of Guelph-Humber first developed depression, she was unaware of what it was. She thought it was just stress from school. Purdy said the issue with depression is that it is often hard to spot. “People may have it and not even be aware they are depressed.”
The intensity of the depression varies from day to day, said Purdy. “There are days that I don’t even want to leave my house.” During periods of extreme depression she finds herself missing multiple days of class because she cannot find the will to attend often telling herself “Why does it matter, who cares?”
Depression is something everyone deals with in some way throughout life said Humber College Nursing student, Madeleine Auclair. According to a 2013 study by the American College Health Association, 40 percent of post-secondary students have felt extreme depression at some point throughout school.
The types of effective treatment for depression varies from person to person, said Auclair. Often what works best is a mixture of medication and counseling, but each person is different and so is their treatment, she said.
For Purdy, it is a mixture of medication, taking life one moment at a time and having her friends and family there for her.
Purdy said it was not until she started her medication that she started to seem more like herself. Even now she notices that when she forgets to take her medication she completely shuts down. Purdy adds she does not enjoy taking the medication it is something she needs to do.
For students suffering from depression, Auclair said there are services available at the Humber College learning commons such as counseling. “Everyone goes through these issues at some point, but they don’t have to face them alone.”
Auclair said anything from genetics to stressful events could trigger a depressive episode. The symptoms of depression vary from person to person which is what makes it such a hard issue to recognize, she said.
The best way to help someone with mental health issues is to become educated on the issues. Doing so makes the signs easier to see and more importantly it makes it easier to encourage the person suffering from these issues to seek help, making it easier for them to do so without fear of facing the stigma attached to mental health, said Auclair.
Having her loved ones understand her depression and help her through the more difficult days is one of the main ways Purdy, deals with her depression. “My boyfriend understands exactly what I’m going through and is able to help me whenever I’m feeling down.” Having them there to talk to is often more helpful than talking to guidance, she said.
But that is not to say the services at Humber are not great. Humber is doing a great job with their counseling services and there should be more services like this widely available, said Purdy.
Image courtesy of Sander van der Wel according to license.