Skip to main content


What it is

Often written about as an overwhelming feeling of sadness or "rough patch," depressive disorder, frequently simplified as depression, is more than just a case of the blues. Depression is a prolonged and persistent negative mood lasting two or more weeks that can interfere with many aspects of life. 

We will all feel down or sat at times, but when it lasts for an extended period and impacts our ability to function, it may be time to seek help.

Symptoms that may be present

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping, struggling with staying asleep, falling asleep, or oversleeping.
  • Decreased energy, "feeling exhausted," or fatigued. 
  • Unexplained weight gain/loss
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness.
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Feeling worthless and/or negative self-talk.
  • Pessimism
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Suicide Attempts.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States (NIMH, 2019) affecting just over 17 million adults or seven percent of all U.S. adults. This was higher in females than males and highest among individual 18-25. 

Things you can do to help yourself

  • Live a healthy lifestyle: take active care in your physical health. Move your body, even if you don't feel like it. Eat nutritious, balanced meals and make sure you're drinking enough water. 
  • Continue basic hygiene: the lack of a usual daily routine and lack of basic hygiene tasks can increase feelings of helplessness. Through creation and consistent implementation of a routine, you can regain feelings of control. 
  • Seek and accept social support: depression can be lonely and isolating. Staying connected with others can reduce feelings of isolation and remind you of your worth. Social support is important and does not have to involve discussing personal concerns. It can be keeping up with social activities, texting someone, going to eat with others, inviting a friend over, or dining in a public space. Connection is crucial. 
  • Take small steps: when feeling depressed, small things can feel difficult to manage. You have permission to take small steps and break tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, if you need to clean your space but don't have the energy, fold one basket of laundry, or set a timer for 5 minutes and do as much as you can for that time allotment. 


Apps that help

  • Sanvello: created by clinical experts and uses techniques rooted in evidence- based treatments for depression like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness meditation. It also has a mood and self-care tracker to help you stay on top of your mental health. 
  • Daylio Mood Tracker: This app helps you identify patterns in the changes you may experience in your moods. Finding these patterns can help you figure out what events might trigger mood changes, which can help you better understand your mood and identify adjustments you can make to improve your mood.  

Other resources

The College Student's Guide to Depression Coping with depression 7 Tips to overcome bad moods

4 Reasons Why Depression is Getting More Common

Major Depressive Disorder | More than just the blues