By LATRICIA NELL
One out of every two women in the United States has suffered or will suffer from depression, a BYU professor said.
For men, depression hits one of every four to five, said David Clayton, visiting assistant clinical professor of counseling psychology.
The quality of life is good for students at BYU, Clayton said. Students have the support from student wards and bishops. They have a pretty extensive back-up system, Clayton said.
National Depression Day, which is Thursday, is another source of help.
“National Depression Day was established to give students the opportunity of a safe and secure environment to come in and to get tested,” said Julie E. Preece, associate clinical professor.
Screenings are available in 2542 WSC.
Preece said receiving a free screening can be compared to getting one’s blood pressure or cholesterol checked: it must be done.
“Invest in your emotional welfare,” Preece said.
Clayton said screenings are free and confidential and can help diagnose depressional problems.
Depression is categorized into three types: major depression, dysthmia and bipolar illness or manic depression.
Major depression can have a variety of symptoms, including sadness, lethargy, unexplained fatigue, weight gain or loss, Preece said. No symptom is more important than another, and symptoms may re-occur.
Dysthymia is a long-term depression. Its symptoms are less severe, but it still keeps one from feeling and achieving one’s fullest potential, Preece said.
“You experience blueness for a long period of time,” Preece said.
Bipolar illness or manic depression is a chemical disorder. It is an elevation of moods. One may feel very excited and then suddenly depressed, Preece said. Very little middle ground is associated with bipolar disorder.
“It happens on cycles. Nothing really triggers it, but little things like inadequacy, missing family or friends and other frustrations fuel it,” said Angela, a BYU student who suffers from bipolar depression.
Angela said she has had a bipolar illness since childhood. She said looking back she can see the signs of depression, but wasn’t able to recognize the signs while she was in the situation.
“Last year it got really bad. I was crying all the time,” Angela said.
Many factors are involved in depression, Preece said. Depression is a way of thinking and viewing life. It can deceive one’s mind into believing things that are not true.
Julie, a BYU student who suffers from bipolar depression, said the illness distorts her view of life. She said when she received a “C” on a math exam, she felt as though she would never graduate nor move on to graduate school.
Julie said she perceives the “C” grade as a global experience — one that will greatly affect her future.
Depression is treatable according to the American College Health Association’s pamphlet, “Dealing with Depression: What Everyone Should Know.”
The pamphlet offers advice for helping family and friends who have depressional problems.
“You aren’t responsible for your friend’s depression. You can’t fix your friend’s life or change his or her mood. Although you may be tempted, don’t try to give advice or take charge. Just listen,” advice in the pamphlet reads.