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What is Depression?

Feeling down, sad or just "blah" is a normal part of life. Usually this form of the blues doesn't last long and with some thought or a conversation with a good friend we can figure out what brought the feeling on. Often, it's loss, disappointment or some reminder of this sort of experience that triggers it. Just as often, it only takes doing something pleasurable, thinking of something else, talking to a friend, etc. for the feeling to lessen or go away.

But if these feelings stick around for more than two weeks and are linked with other cues, such as those listed below, then it could be that this normal sad feeling is evolving into something more significant and serious.


  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain


  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Restlessness, irritability, anger


  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

If you feel you might be experiencing signs and symptoms of depression and want to talk to someone about it, please call (309) 438-3655 or come directly to room 320 of the Student Services Building to schedule an initial appointment. You can also take our on-line assessment for depression anytime.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm please know that emergency resources are available.

How to Take Care of You

Quick Tips

  • Check out the Half of Us Feel Better list of quick tips to get you feeling better.
  • Visit the Virtual Pamphlet collection on topics ranging from anxiety and depression to sleep and sexual orientation from colleges and universities from around the world.
    (A virtual pamphlet created by another university may refer to services available only to students at that university. Illinois State University students should contact SCS at (309) 438-3655. For after hours emergencies, contact PATH at (309) 827-4005.)


  • Schedule an appointment to visit Student Counseling Center’s Relaxation Room (by appointment only)
  • Attend a workshop on stress and time management (workshops by request only, to request a workshop click here)
  • Relaxation MP3s (two free relaxation MP3s, courtesy of Hobart & William Smith Colleges)
    DISCLAIMER: The relaxation exercises contained on this site are provided to help you learn how to relax in the comfort of your own home. While relaxation can be helpful at soothing oneself and reducing stress and anxiety, you may find that you still feel stress even when you have mastered relaxation techniques. If that is the case, please feel free to contact our office at (309) 438-3655 to schedule an appointment, or get additional information.


How to Help Others

Online Resources

  • Half of Us - An online resource for college students on mental health related topics provided by mtvU and the Jed Foundation.
  • Jed Foundation - An online resource for the prevention of suicide and reduction of emotional distress.
  • ULifeline - An online resource for college students on mental health related topics, including “Go Ask Alice!”, libraries for mental health and drug information, and mental health screenings.
  • NIMH’s Mental Health Information - Links to the National Institute of Mental Health’s library of mental health topics.
  • American Psychological Association - The American Psychological Association provides self-help resources to people looking for information that may be directly applicable to their lives and offers help with a variety difficulties.
  • QPR Institute - A suicide prevention program.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - Are you in crisis? Please call 1-800-273-TALK
  • Path Crisis Center - A 24 hour, 7 days a week crisis line serving McLean, Livingston and DeWitt counties at 1-800-570-PATH (7284), 309-827-4005 or by dialing 2-1-1.
  • Real Men Real Depression - An online resource for men about depression and its treatment.
  • Nontraditional Students and Depression - This brochure discusses the challenges facing nontraditional students and provides self-care and stress management techniques.

Local & National Support Groups

  • Bloomington-Normal Depression and Bipolar Alliance - For information on the local chapter contact Myla Davis at (309) 829-3899 or mylasuedavis@yahoo.com. Be advised that chapters are volunteer-run. As such, please be considerate of the time of day you are calling and remember that this is not a crisis line.
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - The mission of NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.
  • National Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance - This site provides information on recognizing and treating mood disorders as well as helpful links to support services.

Depression affects not only your mood, but your physical, mental, academic, and social functioning as well. Don’t lose hope. While going through depression can be very difficult, depression is very treatable and can improve quickly with help. Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, please contact Student Counseling Services at (309) 438-3655. (Statement of hope adapted from University of Wisconsin)

2017-01-27T09:36:05.354-06:00 2017