How are you feeling? Be honest with yourself. Do you feel “blue”, down, or sad sometimes? It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, but when these feelings impact your daily life, it could be a sign of a more serious condition known as depression.
If you have thoughts of suicide, anxiety, or depression and need to talk to someone, call 9-8-8. You'll be connected to a professionally trained mental health and suicide prevention specialist. Web chats are also available.
211 also has other free and confidential programs to support your mental health journey. Know that you are not alone and help is available whether you or someone you know is struggling.
Depression can affect anyone and may look different in children, teens, young adults and adults. It can occur on its own or in combination with other mental health conditions and chronic illnesses. For example, a diagnosis or battle with cancer, diabetes, or heart disease can trigger depression.
Life events can also trigger symptoms. For example, pregnancy can bring on symptoms of depression both during the pregnancy and after.
The seasons can make you feel blue, especially during a long, cold winter. It can also happen any time of year.
Do I Have Depression?
There are several signs and symptoms of depression, and they can vary depending on age. While feeling sad is one symptom of depression, it’s more than that. It’s also feeling hopeless and worthless for more than two weeks, along with a change in doing things you used to enjoy.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests asking yourself these questions.
Do I feel….?
- Consistently sad, anxious, worthless or “empty”?
- Hopeless or pessimistic?
- Easily frustrated, angry, irritable or restless?
- Not interested in hobbies or activities I once enjoyed?
- I’m withdrawing from friends and family?
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless?
- It's harder to make decisions, remember, or concentrate?
- My daily eating and sleeping habits changed?
- Tired, fatigued or have experienced memory loss?
- Aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive issues that don't have a cause or don't stop with treatment.
- Like harming myself or committing suicide?
Adults may also experience other symptoms like middle-of-the-night insomnia, decreased libido, gastrointestinal symptoms, sadness or grief.
Your symptoms may vary from a friend or family member’s symptoms.
Teens/Adolescents should also ask themselves if they feel...?
- That they're not doing as well in school?
While the symptoms of depression are similar in teens and adults, there are some differences. Know the warning signs of depression and other mental health conditions in teens, and how to get teens support. You are not alone. Help is available.
How is depression diagnosed?
Depression is diagnosed by the number of symptoms you have each day. If you have five depression symptoms daily, almost all day, and this pattern continues for at least two weeks, you may have depression. The National Institute of Mental Health says one of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest in almost all activities.
A behavioral health specialist can diagnose your condition and provide support and treatment. If you cannot get an appointment, you can also get help and support from your primary care provider.
Mental Help Help
If you’re feeling down and it’s impacting your daily life, you should seek the help of a behavioral health professional. If you need help finding one, call 2-1-1 or search for a resource near you in 211 Maryland's comprehensive database of local behavioral health resources.
If you are a parent or caregiver, learn about mental health programs specifically designed for teens.
If you need immediate support, call 9-8-8 and speak to a trained professional.
Confidential Support For Adults
211 understands that it’s difficult to get a behavioral health appointment, and sometimes when you do get that appointment, it’s not with a person you click with or feel comfortable sharing how you truly feel.
During a discussion with 92Q and mental health professionals on establishing mental health goals, 211 and other panelists shared the difficulty in finding a therapist who is a person of color or someone who understands you. If you're not comfortable with the person, you may feel less inclined to share everything.
However, don't wait to find the perfect therapist. If you can't get an appointment with your top pick, get on their waiting list, and get an appointment with someone else in the meantime. Start the conversation with someone, and eventually, you'll get to the therapist with whom you truly connect.
In addition to the challenge of getting an appointment, it may be trial and error to find a connection. If you find someone that you don't connect with, it's ok. Search for someone else.
211 is always here to help. Our programs are free and confidential and connect you with a trained professional who is caring and compassionate.
211 Health Check is a free weekly check-in program that connects you to a caring and compassionate person. They’ll call you each week at a time that works for you. They’ll provide tips to help ease your mind of stress and worry and connect you to behavioral health resources in your community.
MDMindHealth/MDSaludMental provides inspirational and motivational text message support for adults. It’s available in English and Spanish.
Both of these programs are available when you need them.
You are not alone! Free and confidential help is available.
Mental Health Support For Youth
Remember, mental health can look different in children, teens and young adults. Know the warning signs and get help from teen-specific mental health programs in Maryland.
211 provides a free youth-focused text message support system. Teens can sign up for MDYoungMinds. It provides supportive text messages. These may include resources on depression, teen and adolescent mental health and support programs.
Teens can also connect with peers who’ve experienced a mental health concern or trauma through the Taking Flight program.
You can also download the Children's Health Matters Family Resource Kit. It's a comprehensive guide to mental health symptoms and signs while also providing treatment options and support in Maryland.
Ways To Improve Mental Health
In addition to these free and confidential programs, you can support your mental health by talking to a trusted adult. This may be a trained professional, parent, family member, guardian, teacher, school counselor or doctor, including pediatricians.
In addition to getting the help you need from professionals, it's important to spend time with friends and family members and stay active, following a regular sleep routine and eating healthy food.
Prevent Suicide With Mindfulness
You can also try mind-body exercises like mindfulness to help you seek out support and help when you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide or feeling down. These are instructional mindfulness videos from Now Matters Now, a collection of resources focused on preventing suicide with research, resources and first-hand accounts of suicidal thoughts.
Now Matters Now provides mindfulness skills and points out that a mindfulness practice is “your worst enemy” when you have suicidal thoughts.
Remember, one-on-one mental health support is also always available by calling or texting 988.