Image Credit: Everyday Health

Author: Natalee Wheeler

Approximately 7% of Americans will suffer from a major depressive episode in a year. That’s about 16.2 million people. If you or a loved one may be suffering from depression, it is important to know that you are not alone and that it is okay to get help.

Depression is just being sad, right?

Being sad is not the same as depression. There are certain life events such as the death of a loved one, a relationship ending, or loss of a job that may cause extreme grief. In these cases, these feelings of sadness are normal. There may definitely be overlap between grief/sadness and depression, but symptoms of depression last longer and feelings of lower self-esteem occur (as not in the case of normal sadness/grief).

Depression is defined as a serious mood disorder and medical condition that negatively affects how you feel, act, and think. To be diagnosed with the depression, the symptoms must last at least two weeks.

Risk Factors for Depression

The main risk factors for depression inlude:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Major life events, changes, trauma, or stress
  • Certain medications that may cause depression as a side effect
  • Other illnesses or substance abuse
  • Low self-esteem or low self-worth

Signs of Depression

If you are worried that you or a loved one may be suffering from depression, look for these signs and symptoms:

  • constant and persistent sad or “empty” mood
  • irritability
  • feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness
  • losing interest in hobbies and activities that are usually enjoyable
  • decreased energy levels and/or fatigue
  • appetite and/or weight changes
  • difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

Depression in College:

Transitioning from high school to college is a pretty big deal and bring a lot of new and exciting things into someone’s life. However, some people may experience transitions when coming to college that may prove to be very overwhelming and stressful. Dealing with these changes may be a catalyst for depression.

At Montana State University, the Counseling and Psychological Services is able to help students with depression or other mental health concerns. At CPS, about 78% of MSU students say that emotional difficulties are hurting their academic performance. At CPS, 63% of clients present depression as one of their top concerns. 40% of CPS clients have seriously considered suicide. Depression is dangerous, but CPS can help clients resolve their concerns.

How to get help

If you are worried that depression may be a detriment to your everyday health and well-being, it is important to seek help. There are also ways for you to help someone you know. There are many resources available in the Bozeman community. Please also see our article on Suicide Prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Resources at MSU and in the Bozeman community

Counseling and Psychological Services:

Services: Individual, couple, or group counseling is available to MSU students. Counseling is free and available to MSU students at CPS. You can be seen for depression, as well as anxiety, substance abuse, or just because you need someone to talk to about issues going on in your life.

Location: 2nd Floor Swingle Building, East of the SUB

Telephone: (406) 994-4531

Active Minds:

Services: Active Minds is an organization and club on MSU campus that works to increase awareness about mental health, reduce the stigma surrounding it, and provide resources to students that are interested in changing the conversation about mental illness and mental health.

Bozeman Help Center:

Services: The Bozeman Help Center provides crisis intervention and counseling, information, and advocacy to clients in a safe and confidential environment.

Location: 421 E. Peach St., Bozeman, MT 59715

Telephone: (406-586-3333)

Hope House:

Services: This is a place in Bozeman that provides crisis stabilization for people facing mental health crisis. Hope House was intentionally designed to look and feel like a home to decrease anxiety and support socialization, healing, skill-building and independence.

Telephone: 406-556-6500

Want to learn more? Here are some helpful websites!


National Institute of Mental Health:

American Psychiatric Association:

National Alliance on Mental Illness:

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