Early identification, treatment are key to treating depression

With the coming of the “Four Corners dust swap” as a friend likes to call the powerful wind storms we get this time of year, it’s clear that spring is in the air. Anecdotal reports of “muddy rain” in Durango posted to social media last week also confirmed it.

Flying mud aside, spring is widely understood to be a season of renewal and revitalization. Flowers peek through the snow, rivers inch higher and corn skiing abounds. For many of us, the season is invigorating, but for some of us ... not as much.For some, spring can be depressing. Factors can include the relative lack of major holidays to look forward to, the trees and bushes remaining bare, and the sustained warmth of summer feeling a long way off when snow squalls move through the area – not to mention the raining mud.

Although we all have occasional periods of low energy or not feeling like ourselves, depression differs in that it is a behavioral-health condition that can have debilitating effects if not treated properly and in a timely manner.A big part of effectively treating depression is to recognize the symptoms as early as possible and then seek help. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include: difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions; fatigue and decreased energy; feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness; feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism; insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping; irritability, restlessness and thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.While depression is treatable, the condition also can carry a high risk of suicide. People expressing suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken seriously.

Do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. Local professional care also can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling Axis Health System’s Crisis Hotline at 247-5245 in La Plata and Archuleta counties, and 335-2255 in Montezuma County. Another local resource focusing on preventing youth suicide is the Second Wind Fund, which can be found at www.swffcc.thesecondwindfund.org or by calling (970) 946-9586.

While the risks associated with depression are significant, the good news is that the condition is treatable and people frequently recover from episodes of depression. Again, with early identification of symptoms and early intervention and treatment, the effect of depression can be lessened and prospects for recovery increase significantly.

On another note, I want to thank the readers of this column for the comments I have received these last few years while serving as a contributor. I have appreciated your willingness to share your thoughtful perspectives about community building.

Last month, I moved north to Alaska, and this will be my final contribution to the Creating Community column. Liza Fischer will begin representing Axis Health System in this column next month, and I look forward to reading from afar. So, thank you very much for your time, and I wish you all the best.

Mark White is a special contributor for Axis Health System.