CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal)  Depression affects an alarming amount of people, but we don’t really know all that much about it.  Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio, Author, Family Therapist, Health and Wellness Executive shared some theories.

What everyone should know about depression

from Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio

  • 10% of the population lives with this illness.1
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.2
  • The defining symptom is a negative mood—sad, hopeless, empty, apathetic, or irritable—that continues for 2 weeks or more.
  • Another primary symptom is the inability to experience even brief moments of joy.
  • Energy level, concentration, short-term memory, appetite, and sleep are often negatively affected.
  • Severity can range from mild to potentially lethal (suicide).
  • Thought to be caused by a combination of physical and environmental factors.
  • 60% of sufferers don’t seek help3, probably due to stigma and lack of access to care.
  • 80% of those who do seek help benefit greatly.4
  • Treatment usually involves a combination of talk therapy and medication.
  • We can help break the stigma by talking openly about depression the same way we do about heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses.
  • We can listen carefully and respectfully to our friends and family members when they are in emotional pain, tell them that we care and that they deserve to feel better, and advise them to see a therapist or talk with their physician.

1 Hendrick, B. How Many in U.S. are Depressed? September 30, 2010.

2 The World Health Organization (WHO). Fact Sheet No. 369. Oct, 2015.

3 Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Depression Statistics, Treatment for Depression.

4 National Institute of Mental Health, (1995). Pub No. 95-3871.