Depression is different than feeling sad. Someone with depression has feelings of deep sadness and hopelessness over a long time. Every aspect of life is affected: emotions, physical health, relationships, and work. Depression is serious. It affects people of all ages, genders, professions, races, and cultures.

Here are some signs and symptoms to watch for:

  • Change in eating habits
  • Losing or gaining weight for no reasons
  • Low energy, feeling very tired all the time
  • Problems concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions
  • Feeling hopeless and worthless
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Feeling guilty for no reasons
  • Problems getting to sleep: sleeping too much: not sleeping enough
  • Feeling irritable often
  • Having thoughts about suicide or death

If you have these symptoms everyday for two weeks or more, visit the health centre and talk to a mental health professional. For anonymous support, call the Kamatsiaqtut Help Line at 1-800-265-3333.

If you think someone is at risk of harming themselves or others, take them to the health centre immediately or call the RCMP.

Causes of depression

Depression is an illness. It's not caused by personal weakness. When you have depression, a chemical in your brain called neurotransmitters are out of balance. Certain factors may make it more likely for a person to experience depression: family history of depression, physical health, personality or stressful life events. Just because a family member has depression or you experience stressful life events, does not mean you will get depression.

Other kinds of depression

  • Post-partum depression sometimes occurs after women have a baby due to a number of different factors. To learn more about postpartum depression and baby blues, click here: [Link to Mother’s Mental Health Resource]
  • Less daylight in the winter can lead to a kind of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD)

Ways to Manage and Treat Depression

Many people find ways to manage depression, reduce their symptoms, and live a full and healthy life.

  • Visit a health care provider and make a treatment plan.

 There are different ways to treat depression, and you can find a plan that works for you. Treatment options include counselling, therapy, and or antidepressant medicines.

  • Track your mood. When you feel symptoms and depressions, see if there is a pattern. Use this knowledge to better understand what causes your symptoms.
  • Learn and practice physical and mental relaxation and breathing techniques.

 Tip: You can YouTube different relaxation and breathing exercises to find one time that works best for you!

  • Lifestyle changes can also help: getting more exercise, eating healthy, and participating in activities you enjoy.
  • Join a support group(in—person or online) for an opportunity to share experiences and coping strategies.
  • Visit the Help and Support page to find out about resource available.

Some people and family might feel embarrassed or ashamed about having depression. These feelings should not stand in the way of getting help. Treatment works, and the sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner they feel better.

A person may use more than one type of treatment. A healthcare provider helps to find the best treatment. If a treatment is not working, it is important to let your healthcare provider know. It may take a few tries for a person to start to feel better. It may take several weeks for medicine to start working. Healthy behaviours like exercise, eating healthy and keeping busy with favourite activities help with successful treatment.

Depression can sometimes return. Medication and other types of therapy can help keep that from happening. Some people take medicine for the rest of their lives and live a full, healthy life.

Helping and Supporting Others

If you think someone is depressed, offer to help. Here are some things you can try:

  • Talk to health care provider.
  • Encourage person to get treatment, or stay in treatment if they already started it.
  • Learn about depression so you can offer support they need.
  • Talk to the person about how they feel. Gently encourage them to get back into the activities they once enjoyed, and seeing close friends and family.
  • Stay calm with the person—don't get upset. The behaviour you see is from the illness.
  • Visit the Help and support page to find out about resource available.

If you think someone is at risk of harming themselves or others, take them to the health centre immediately or call the RCMP.