Identifying signs of depression and anxiety

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Caroline Kurtz, Sports Editor

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Depression and anxiety signs in children and teens:

People affected by depression may believe they will never feel better. They may convince themselves nothing or no one can help them. It is important to understand why people feel this way, the symptoms of their condition, and how you can help. Guiding people to mental health resources could save someone’s life.

Youth mental health is steadily worsening. According to, 76 percent of young people were left with insufficient or nonexistent treatment in 2017. Over 1.7 million youth with major depressive episodes did not receive the treatment they desperately needed. The rise in depression in children is only worsening with limited treatment plans available.

What is depression?

Depression is a mental illness that affects a person’s ability to function normally. Symptoms of depression include feeling overwhelming sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. If not treated, these emotions progress and become worse (

There are many types of depression, such as premenstrual depression, postpartum depression, seasonal depression, and persistent depression. Depression can also be a factor in bipolar disorders or schizophrenia.

In many cases, depression does not occur alone. People living with depression may experience other mental illnesses as well. Depression is often paired with anxiety and substance abuse disorders (up to 60 percent according to

Should I call a depression hotline?

If one is struggling with depression they all too often choose to isolate themselves and may struggle with admitting they need help. Isolation may lead to increased suicidal thoughts or behaviors ( Multiple helplines are available for anyone to discuss there complicated emotions.

Depression helplines are free and open 24 hours a day to the public. Sometimes it is beneficial to express what you are experiencing to another person, to get your feelings out and lift the heavy weight off your chest (

Detecting Depression:

People struggling with mental health illnesses including depression and anxiety can display multiple symptoms. The symptoms to look for may include:

  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions.
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping excessively
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps
  • Digestive problems
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Calling a depression helpline is the opportunity to:

  • Get information about depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders
  • Talk to someone who understands and is knowledgeable about mental health disorders.
  • Receive anonymous help
  • Learn how to treat depression
  • Discover how to help a loved one who is showing signs of a mental health disorder

What questions to ask:

Depression helplines are anonymous and confidential. They are a great resource to begin the conversation on what one is feeling. Living with mental health disorders can be challenging and confusing. Those working depression helplines are compassionate, knowledgeable people who are doing everything they can to help you.

Some questions to consider asking when you call a depression helpline:

  • What are the common symptoms of depression?
  • Am I depressed, or am I just sad?
  • Will I always feel this way?
  • Is it possible to have multiple mental illnesses?
  • What can I do to feel better?
  • What should I expect when I seek treatment?
  • What type of therapy or medication is available to me?
  • Will I always need therapy or medications?
  • Will insurance cover the cost of treatment?
  • If I do not have insurance, how much will the treatment cost?
  • Are there any free or low-cost resources in my community?
  • What can I do next?

If someone you know is showing signs of depression, anxiety, or mental health disorders you can also take advantage of the depression helplines.

Some questions a family member of friend may ask the depression helplines are:

  • How can I tell if someone I love has depression?
  • Should I confront this person? How do I go about this conversation?
  • How can I show my support?
  • Are there any support groups near me to help them?
  • What options do I have if I fear my loved one may harm themself or others?

If you feel as though you are affected by any of these conditions or someone you know, contact one of these resources to learn more about treating depression.

Free Hotline Numbers:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • National Hopeline Network:  1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663

Local Resources:

  • Worcester County Health Department: 410-629-0164
  • Seaside Counseling and Wellness Center: 410-213-7875
  • Worcester Youth and Family Services: 410-641-4598 or 410-957-6550
  • Department of Social Services: 410-677-6806
  • Core Service Agency: 410-632-3366
  • Life Crisis Hotline: 410-749-HELP or 410-749-4357
  • Statewide Crisis Hotline: 1-800-422-0009
  • Emergency Services: 911