Depression and suicide cases are on the rise now. Back in 2017, Dr. Norieta Calma-Balderrama, chairperson of the Philippine Board of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, pointed out that cases of teenage depression have increased by 75% in the last 25 years. Depression has been described by the World Health Organization as “an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.”
What are some signs that somebody could be depressed? From performing well or even on the average in school, one could suddenly fail in his subjects. Someone might have had a passion for sports before, but he no longer feels motivated to pursue them. Locking up oneself in the room often, in isolation from his loved ones, is another symptom of depression.
If you are undergoing a normal phase of being sad, respect that process. Continue to cling to the God who loves you, no matter what the season of your life is. Remember, “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Find a support group and share with them what you are going through. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Try to get into physical activity. This helps release happy hormones! Use art therapy or write about your pain. These are creative ways to express your sadness. Prevention is better than cure. The greater your degree of awareness about your sadness, the better you can cope with it, the more you could avoid falling into the mental health problem of depression, and the more you could emerge victorious!
If you find that you are in the actual state of depression, seek help from someone you trust or from a professional or missionary. Talk about what you are feeling. Do not carry the problem on your own.
If you know somebody who is undergoing depression, reach out to him. Even if you are not a mental health professional, many times, what people need are individuals who are willing to listen to them without judgment.
Listening compassionately is a wonderful gift we can receive and give to others. It is not always easy to find generous people who will make themselves available by journeying with others from the heart. James 1:19 reminds us, “…everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”