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Nathan Miller: Be watchful for signs of depression

Nathan Miller • Updated Oct 10, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Depression, the foremost cause responsible for suicidal acts, is a mental health illness that may last for two weeks, two months or longer.

But whatever the length of time that someone may be suffering from depression, their mental state must not be overlooked and should be addressed by mental health professionals who are knowledgeable about such issues, 

September, recognized annually in the U.S. as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, is the one month out of the year that is focused on information, including statistics and causes, related to deaths from suicide.

Tennessee in 2015, the latest reporting period available, posted one of the highest suicide rates in the nation at 16 deaths per 100,000 people.

Because depression is so closely associated with suicide, recognizing the signs and symptoms that indicate depression can be essential in saving a friend, co-worker or family member from taking or attempting to take their own life.

Symptoms of depression may include:

• a depressed mood most of the day – feeling sad, empty, hopeless or on the verge of tears.

• loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.

• weight loss even when not on a diet or experiencing weight gain. Also note decreases or increases in appetite.

• difficulty sleeping or being overly tired.

• restlessness or feeling slowed down.

• fatigue or a loss of energy.

For more information about depression or to get assistance for someone who may be dealing with the issue, call Volunteer Behavioral Health’s toll-free number at 877-567-6051 or the 24-hour crisis call line at 800-704-2651. You may also visit vbhcs.org.

Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System has provided prevention, treatment and recovery services for more than 40 years. As a leader in behavioral health care, VBHCS continues to be dedicated to the service of community members across Tennessee. 

Nathan Miller is director of Cumberland Mental Health Services, an agency of Volunteer Behavioral Health.

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