Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. In the United States, close to 10% of adults struggle with depression. One major source of confusion is the difference between having depression and just ‘feeling depressed’. Almost everyone feels down from time to time. Getting a bad grade, losing a job, having an arguement, even a rainy day can bring on feelings of sadness. Sometimes, theres no trigger at all. It just pops up out of the blue. Then circumstances change, and those sad feelings disapear. Clinical depression is different. Its a medical disorder, and it won’t go away just because you want it to. It lingers for at least 2 consecutive weeks and significantly interferes with one’s ability to work, play or love. Depression can have a lot of different symptoms. A low mood, a loss of interest in things you’d normally enjoy, changes in appetite, feeling worthless or excessively guilty, sleeping either to much or to little, poor concentration, restlessness or slowness, loss of energy, or recurrent thoughts of suicide. If you have at least 5 of those symptoms, according to phyciatric guidelines, you qualify for a diagnosis of depression. Because depression’s symptoms are intangible its hard to know who might look fine but is actually struggling. According to the National Institude of Mental Health, it takes the average person suffering with a mental illness over 10 years to ask for help. Even just talking about depression openly can help. For example: research shows that asking someone about suicidal thoughts actually reduces their suicide risk. Open conversations about mental illness help erode stigma and make it easier for people to ask for help. And the more patients seek treatment, the more scientists will learn about depression and the better the treatments will get.