Depression: what we all need to know

It's more than being a little blue

This may be the most important thing to know about depression: It’s not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It’s a serious illness — like heart disease or diabetes. Doctors can screen for it — and treat it to help people get their lives back.

You deserve better — help is out there.

Depression is more than feeling sad. It can make it hard to function day to day — and it can rob you of your ability to enjoy your life. Treatment — typically talk therapy, medication or both — may help you feel more like yourself again.1

If someone is clinically depressed, they can’t just “snap out of it.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Most people need treatment to get better.
  • Generally, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is.
  • It’s never too late to seek help.

Depression affects people in different ways.

Symptoms may vary from mild to severe. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms for 2 weeks or longer, talk with your doctor.

  • Feeling sad or hopeless, or having a low mood.
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep — or sleeping too much.
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat.
  • Feeling worthless or guilty.
  • Losing pleasure in activities once enjoyed — such as hobbies or sex.
  • Being fatigued or having decreased energy.
  • Having trouble concentrating, thinking or making decisions.
  • Moving or speaking so slowly that other people notice — or doing purposeless physical activity, such as pacing or hand
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide.

What to do next

Speak up — even if it’s difficult. Not sure how to bring it up with your doctor? You might try something like this: “I haven’t been myself lately. I think I may have depression — and I’d like some help.”

Your workplace may also provide a confidential employee assistance program that can put you in touch with professional help.

Get help with finding a Mental Health Provider

If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, get emergency help right away.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for:

  • 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress
  • Prevention and crisis resources for you or loved ones 
  • Best practices for professionals


  1. Check your benefit plan to see what services may be covered.