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Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.
~ Anne Wilson Schaef

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

This checklist is taken out of the book: Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback's Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss by Eric Hipple, former NFL Quarterback for the Detroit Lions (2008).
This is the checklist he found at U of Michigan Depression Center, and wished that he had this checklist of symptoms of depression for  himself in high school and that he knew the signs so that he could have seen them in his own son, Jeff.  Jeff died by suicide at the age of 15. Looking back, Eric realizes that Jeff had been suffering silently with depression. Eric tells us that although it is too late to save his son, his hope is that he saves other lives by educating them about depression. 

 Nine-Symptom Checklist for Depression:

For each statement below, insert a number score:
0=never/not at all
1=Several days
2=More than half the days
3=Nearly every day

Over the past 2 weeks, how often have you experienced or been bothered by any of the following:

1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
2. Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
3. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
4. Feeling tired or having little energy
5. Poor appetite or overeating
6. Feeling bad about yourself, feeling that you are a failure, or feeling that you have let yourself or a loved one down
7. Trouble concentrating on things such as reading or watching television
8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed, or being so fidgety or restless that you move around a lot more than usual
9. Thinking that you would be better off dead or that you want to hurt yourself in some way

If you scored 1 or more for any of the above statements so far, how difficult have these problems made if for you to do your work, take care of things at home or perform at school?

0= Not difficult at all
1= Somewhat difficult
2=Very difficult
3=Extremely difficult

Interpreting Scores: How to know if you may need help:

If your score is 4 or less: May be experiencing tough times but may not need professional treatment.

5-14 Should consider speaking with a professional, your doctor, a counselor at school or work, therapist, or other mental health specialist.

15 or more: May be experiencing clinical depression and likely would benefit from a thorough check up and possibly antidepressant medication and
therapy. (U of Michigan's brief diagnostic questionnaire on depression).

If you need help, don't panic. However you should seek help immediately. Don't wait. Your doctor may want to rule out any potential physical causes for how you are feeling. If those are ruled out, then ask for the number of a mental health specialist who specializes in depression.
Remember DEPRESSION is TREATABLE. It is an illness and you do no longer have to feel awful all the time. A variety of treatments really do work and you can feel better. You can feel like yourself again. There is hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Signs of Depression and Possible Suicide Risk:

  • Talking about dying: any mention of dying, disappearing, or hurting oneself
  • Recent Loss: through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, loss of money, status, self confidence, self esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, or previously enjoyed activities
  • Change in Personality: sadness, withdrawal, irritability, anxiety, tiredness, indecisiveness, apathy
  • Change in Behavior: inability to concentrate on school work, work, routine tasks
  • Change in Sleep Patterns: insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares, inability to stay asleep
  • Change in eating habits: loss of appetite and weight or overeating 
  • Fear of Losing Control: fear of going crazy, harming oneself or others
  • Low Self Esteem: feelings of worthlessness, shame, overwhelming guilt, self hatred. Thinking "everyone would be better off without me". 
  • No Hope for The Future: belief that things will never get better, that nothing will ever change. 
  • Other symptoms: suicidal impulses, statements or plans, giving away favorite things, previous suicide attempts, substance abuse, making out wills, agitation, hyperactivity, restlessness or lethargy. 
  • Remember: The risk of suicide may be greatest as the depression lifts, because the sufferer regains enough energy to act on self destructive thoughts. 
  • Get Help Immediately


The National Institute of Mental Health offers the following resources if you are thinking about suicide. Bottom line: Get help immediately.

* Call your doctor
* Call 911 for emergency services
* Go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital
* Ask a family member or friend to call your doctor or take you to the hospital
* Call the toll-free, 24 hour hot-line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at the suicide crisis center nearest you.

Depression is a medical illness which affects the brain which in turn affects the rest of the body.
Depression can affect anyone: children, adolescents,  young adults, middle-aged adults and older people.
20% of adults will have suffered from depression at some point in their lifetimes.
Everyone feels down from time to time. However, with depression, these feelings are more severe and occur nearly every day for two weeks or more.
Warning Signs:
Emotional Symptoms:
  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or numb
  • Restlessness, irritability, or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Less interest or participation in activities normally enjoyed
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide 
Physical Symptoms:
  • Low energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Changes in appetite or weight (eating more or less)
  • Change in sleep pattern (sleeping more or less)
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Self destructive behavior, loss of control, or uncontrolled rage
  • May include headaches, aches, pains, digestive problems, dizziness or lightheadedness. 
Suicide :
In the United States:
91 people die by suicide each day
Approximately 17% of students in grades 9-12 have seriously considered suicide in the past year
Of the 9% of high school students who admit to one or more suicide attempts, only 1 of 3 will receive help
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds
Among young people ages 10-24, the suicide rate has doubled in the past two decades
Risk Factors:
Sex:  Men are four times more likely than women to die from suicide, although three times more women than men report attempting suicide
Neurotransmitters: Research indicates that both depression and suicidal behavior is linked with decreased serotonin in the brain.
Psychiatric Disorders: At least 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illness
Family History: There is an increased risk for suicidal behavior in individuals with a family history of major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and certain personality disorders.
Substance Abuse:  Drugs and alcohol are involved in 60% of suicides
Distressing Life Events: loss of loved one, career failure, rejection, and abuse
Psychic Pain or Inner Turmoil:  Anxiety, guilt, perceived burdensomeness, feelings of not belonging and hopeless that things will not improve.
Impulsivity: Impulsive individuals are more atp to act on suicidal urgers.
In order to prevent suicide, we must first begin by overcoming our reluctance to talk about it.
Young people are more likely to seek help if social acceptance is broadened and they receive support and services early on
Education reduces stigmas, thereby increasing our understanding and compassion towards those who suffer from depression.
Communication will help increase emotional support for family and friends with mental health problems.
Research from sociologist Ronald Kessler at Harvard Medical School has revealed that "more than half of all cases of mental illness begin during the teenage years". 

What can I Do To Help Someone Who is in Crisis?
  • Listen with sincere concern
  • Ask them if they have felt this way before and how they have coped with it in the past
  • Share a time when you felt similarly and assure them that things can and will change
  • Let them know that many people will think about suicide but never attempt it
  • Stay with him or her and do something together. 
  • Do not try to handle it alone. Talk to a mental health professional or call a hotline. 
  • Call 911 or go with them to the nearest emergency room at the local hospital
Remember that Suicide is NOT a Choice, but a result of a serious illness....depression (or some other mental health disorder).
Suicide can be prevented. Some suicides occur without any outward warning, most do not. Most people who feel suicidal give definite warning signs, but these signs are often not understood, recognized or acted upon until it it too late.  
There are now promising treatment for depression on both a preventative and treatment basis. With knowledge, understanding and knowing where resources are, lives can be saved and less people will have to suffer the loss of their loved one.  Each life lost to suicide affects countless families, friends and loved one with unimaginable sorrow and pain. 
Help is Available: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Psychiatric Emergency Response Network: 1-866-FOR-PERN (367-7376)
Kristen Brooks Hope Center, National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
National Crisis Line, The Help Line USA: 1-800-334-HELP (4357)

(973) 985-4503