Help available for depressed students


By Jessica Chardoulias

Merriam Webster dictionary defines depression as, “a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.”

But still a question arises: What exactly is depression?

Clinical depression is embodying the symptoms of depression for a period longer than two weeks. Sufferers of clinical depression often have trouble surviving through a day, an hour, a minute.

Common things such as eating, sleeping and even breathing can become torturous and often next to impossible.

The United States has accepted depression as an actual disease rather than just an embodiment of frailty. Because of that, many local and national organizations have developed ways to screen for depression.

First, if one desires complete anonymity, there are many Internet sites that offer screening for clinical depression. These include,, and

Anne Aiken-Kush of the UNO Counseling Center warns “tests such as these aren’t reliable a large percentage of the time.”

Instead, Aiken-Kush recommends going to see a professional. Professionals have paper and pencil tests combined with short conference sessions that can more accurately diagnose depression.

On Oct. 17, the Counseling Center will be offering free depression screenings at the Health Fair.

The Counseling Center offers free short-term consultation. Campus professionals work with students daily to decide if what they are experiencing is situational depression (reacting to the loss of a job or loved one) or a chemical imbalance.

Clinical depression is often hereditary, so it is helpful to have knowledge of your family history before going to see a professional.

“Treating depression with medicine is often hit or miss, but when patients know what has worked for their family in the past, it gives up a heads up,” Aiken-Kush says. “Family knowledge isn’t necessary, it’s just helpful.”

After the short term counseling has elapsed (six to eight sessions), the Counseling Center refers students to professionals in the community. Professionals will often offer students sliding fees, which allow them to seek help without falling into debt.

“When in question, talk to somebody,” Aiken-Kush says.

She says often students will come in to the Counseling Center with a friend because they are afraid to talk to a stranger alone.

“Getting help is the key,” Aiken-Kush says. “A high percentage of suicide cases are result of long-term undiagnosed depression.”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms, of depression, know that help is out there — free, confidential help. The UNO Counseling Center can be reached at 554-2409.


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