Center offers help for depression

By Jim Harris

You just flunked your first exam or paper. Depressed? Imagine how you would feel if you constantly flunked exams.

Sadly, many Americans are constantly in a state of depression. Clinical depression occurs when the “blah” or “down” mood lasts for several weeks. Other factors and symptoms are present as well.

A depressive illness affects your body, mood, thoughts and behavior. The causes are not really known, but biological and emotional factors have been shown to increase the possibility of a depressive disorder.

NIU students are not immune to clinical depression. According to Shiraz Tata, a psychologist with NIU’s Counseling and Student Development Center, many NIU students have to deal with it. “NIU students do struggle with clinical depression,” Tata said, “and depression is one of the top three concerns that students who visit the center struggle with.”

Tata said an estimated 10 million Americans suffer from clinical depression annually, and it is a lot more common than most people seem to think. She said many people, students included, tend to drink alcohol to improve their depression, but actually worsen it.

What can you do if you are suffering from clinical depression or know someone who is? Tata said if you are a depressed person, you should acknowledge that you are exhibiting the symptoms. She strongly recommends talking to someone, especially if you are feeling hopeless or suicidal.

If you are suffering from depression or have a friend who is, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pamphlet recommends that you know the signs and find someone to help.

The Counseling and Student Development Center could be a way out. They provide assistance in dealing with personal issues, and help students to reach a clear explanation of their concerns, according to an official letter.

Tata said other campus agencies are also open to help students who may be dealing with depression or other issues of a personal nature. These include the Counseling Lab, Psychological Services and the Family Center.

In addition, a psychiatrist employed by Counseling and Student Development also works with Health Services part-time. For more information, contact Counseling and Student Development at 753-1206.

“NIU students do struggle with clinical depression, and depression is one of the top three concerns that students who visit the center struggle with.”