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Depression and Suicide
2019, Jun 10

The Student Counselling Unit of the Dominican University held a public seminar titled: "DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE." The seminar took place on the 7th of June, 2019 at Tom and Carolyn Walker hall at 11 am. The guest speaker was Mrs. Angela Akpandara, a Clinical Psychologist.
According to Mrs. Akpandara, Depression or depressive illnesses are classified as mood disorders. It is a state of altered mood or feeling of profound and sustained sadness and lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities which is persistent for a particular period of time. Referencing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), Mrs. Akpandara listed some criteria for identifying a major depression:

• Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g. feeling sad and empty) or observations made by others (e.g. appears tearful). It could be an irritable mood in children.
• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others.
• Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g. a change of more than 5% of the body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. In children, it could be a failure to make expected weight gain.
• Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
• Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down.
Mrs. Akpandara noted that these symptoms must be present within a 2 weeks period and represent a change from previous functioning. She went further by listing the types of depression they are:

• Major depression:
• Persistent depressive disorders (dysthymia):
• Bipolar disorder/manic depressive disease
• Seasonal affective disorder (SAD):
• Perinatal/postpartum depression:
• Premenstrual depression

She concluded her presentation by proffering HOW TO HELP SOMEONE IN CRISIS OF SUICIDE.
• Ask them the tough and direct questions: when you know someone who is emotionally pained ask the questions like; are you thinking about killing yourself?
• Keep them safe: take away anything that could hurt them and help them keep safe.
• Be supportive and keep a listening ear: listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless, listen with empathy and compassion and do not judge them.
• Help them connect with either family members or someone they can be comfortable with especially a professional clinical psychologist who can provide the necessary help they need.
• Never leave them alone but do well to follow up.


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