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National Depression Education and Awareness Month
Bringing Depression into the Light
September is National Depression Education and Awareness Month, an opportunity to illuminate a serious mental health condition that lurks silently in the shadows for too many. Roughly 1 in 6 Americans will contend with the debilitating effects of clinical depression during their lifetime. Yet misconceptions still dominate around this common disorder.
Eradicating the Stigma Through Understanding
Many equate feeling depressed with having clinical depression, but the two are not synonymous. Rather than just everyday sadness, clinical depression is characterized by an array of emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms sustained over weeks that impair functioning. There is no single cause of depression, which can arise from a mesh of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. Treatments like psychotherapy, medication, brain stimulation, and lifestyle changes have proven highly effective for most.
When Depression Darkens, Outreach Brightens
Still, lack of understanding leads many to see depression as a personal weakness rather than the serious but treatable medical illness that it is. The perceived stigma surrounding depression discourages people from getting diagnosed or seeking support. That’s where National Depression Education and Awareness Month comes in. Every September, this nationwide public outreach campaign raises awareness and promotes suicide prevention by disseminating educational resources to schools, workplaces, media, and community organizations. The goal is to spread understanding in place of stigma and bring hope out of the darkness for those living with this challenging condition.