How to Recognize Depression and Cope with It

Mental health along with Emotional Health is one of the key factors to achieve wholeness of health. It’s important for us to take care of it or we don’t function in our day to day lives.

It’s really sad to hear about the high profile suicides in the news. My dear friend, no one is exempted from it whether you are rich or poor. It can affect anyone.

I’d like to share with you some numbers. Every 40 seconds, somewhere out there, a person commits suicide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 800,000 people a year take their own lives due to depression-related issues. It has now become the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. But, it is PREVENTABLE.

So what is depression? Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious TREATABLE medical illness that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks and acts. It leads to feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Based from the WHO, more than 300 million people of ALL ages have been diagnosed with depression worldwide. Over 10 years, there has been an 18% increase of people diagnosed with it. Roughly, one in 20 people in the world have it. It is now the leading cause of global mental and physical disability that lowers the productivity at home and at work. In the Philippines, 1 in 5 Filipino Adults has some form of Mental Illness. The Department of Health report top mental illness are Schizoprenia, Depression and Anxiety.

Depression can be diagnosed if a person has certain symptoms almost every day for AT LEAST two (2) weeks. These symptoms are more intense than the normal fluctuations in mood that we experience daily, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V).

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Certain conditions that mimic depression have to be ruled out to avoid incorrectly diagnosing a person to have it. It is different from grief or sadness. A death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences to endure. Feelings of sadness or grief in response to such situations are considered normal.

Amidst the technological improvements and with the internet connecting us worldwide, how do we cope with our daily challenges? Is a smile in every photograph in Facebook or Instagram real, or is it just a mask covering up decades of sadness and hopelessness.

There is hope. There are certain medication, therapy and additional ways to cope. But Social support can be considered as the first and important step toward understanding depression, Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial shares. Discuss about the pangs and pain of depression between people in a SAFE AND TRUSTING environment. Each of us can help someone undergoing depression through being a listening ear and being a SAFE FRIEND who keeps what others share to us to our own.

Awareness is the key. Join Community forums, both digital and physical. Talk to the right people. And having a good healthy diet, exercise, water, sleep and sunlight can help in fighting depression and anxiety.

It really warms my heart to find out that President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed the landmark Philippine Mental Health Law. “Help is finally here. The Mental Health Law cements the government’s commitment to a more holistic approach to healthcare. Without sound mental health there can be no genuine physical health” – Sen. Risa Hontiveros – Author & Principal Sponsor, Mental Health Bill. To learn more about the Mental Health Bill, click here. 

If you are suffering from mental health or know someone, be mindful of yourself and be mindful of others. Acknowledge it. My friend, help is available. Talk to someone you trust.

Blessing and Healing,

P.S. There are centers and professionals that can help you get thru this. Here are their details.

LOJ Pastoral Care Center
(+63) 02 7259-9999 | (+63) 02 726-0267 | (+63) 02 726-6728 | (+63) 02 726-4709

Patrick Gamo
Mental Health Advocate | Professional Counsellor and Psychotherapist
+639178134266 | |

Ning Tadena
Life Coach | | +63920-9628121 |

Edwin Soriano
Life Coach | | +639188002323 |

Center for Family Ministries (Cepham)
(632) 426-4289 to 92 |

UST Psychotrauma Clinic

P.S.2. I invite you on the next run of the “You Can Heal Naturally” Seminar. Our main topic is Mental Health Awareness. We’ll be inviting professionals to help you heal naturally. Click on the link below to register.






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