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Overcoming Depression and Preventing Suicide

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Locations
Counseling Services
120 Richmond Quad University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14261-0053
United States
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Phone
(716) 645-2720 or 829-5800
Fax
(716) 645-2175
Website
http://ub-counseling.buffalo.edu/overcoming.php



Overcoming Depression and Preventing Suicide

Counseling Services assists students in resolving personal difficulties and in acquiring those skills, attitudes, and resources necessary to both succeed in the college environment and pursue productive and satisfying lives. Counseling Services strives to contribute to the overall educational mission of the University by facilitating the academic, emotional, social, and vocational development of students and by serving as mental health consultants to the entire campus community.

Depression

Everyone has experienced feelings of depression at one time or another. These feelings commonly follow loss or disappointment and they usually pass in a few hours or days. When depressive feelings, however, persist and interfere with one's health and social well-being, then some sort of intervention or professional help is needed.

Depression is a prolonged and persistent negative mood which can color and interfere with many aspects of one's life. It is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, and self-doubt. Suicidal thoughts may also be present. Normal everyday depression can last for a few minutes to a few days. We've all felt these periods of being "down" or "sad." These feelings are a normal part of being human. On the other hand, depression that becomes intense and lasts for extended periods of time may be a dysfunctional form of depression, something beyond the "everyday sort." This more serious type of depression can often be helped by seeing a mental health specialist.

How to Overcome Depression & Regain a Positive Outlook

  • Be aware of the cause of your depression and try to be optimistic about the future.
  • Try to be aware of your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ideas.
  • Focus on your positive experiences.
  • Make a weekly list of your positive accomplishments.
  • Get socially active.
  • Make a weekly schedule of your daily activities and do not forget to include social activities.
  • Find a hobby or two.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Use self-relaxation techniques whenever you feel tense. For example, slowly breathe in and out for several minutes until your whole body feels relaxed.
  • Do some volunteer work to keep you active.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Learn to accept that everyone has different abilities and focus on your unique characteristics and positive accomplishments.
  • Be assertive when you are expressing anger.
  • Try to know and develop your strengths.
  • Get professional help if symptoms of depression persist.

How to Help a Depressed Person

  • Do not tell a depressed person that you know what he/she is feeling. This may make the person become angry with you.
  • Be supportive and patient.
  • Let the person know that you are concerned and that you will be there for him/her.
  • Encourage the person to seek professional help if symptoms are persistent and seem to interfere with activities for daily living.

Suicide

After accidents and homicides, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults ages 15-24. It can be prevented. Men are more likely to commit suicide than women. They usually use violent means to end their own lives. Females, on the other hand, are more likely to attempt suicide. They usually use drugs or poison to try and end their lives. You should note that a suicide attempt is a "cry for help" and a request for social support. The suicidal person is letting his/her feelings be known. His/her problems seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle.

Depression is a major contributing factor to suicidal thinking. Depression may result from several factors, including the recent loss of a family member or friend, disappointments in romantic relationships, or failure to live up to one's own or others expectations.

Ways to Help

  • Talk openly and freely and ask direct questions about the student's intention.
  • Listen to what is said and treat it seriously. Do not add to your friend/classmate's guilt by debating, arguing or lecturing about whether or not suicide is right or wrong.
  • NEVER leave a student who is suicidal alone.
  • Encourage the student to seek help.
  • Get help immediately.

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