Hygiene

Hygiene

Short description of page

Not being able to maintain personal hygiene is a reality for many people suffering from depression. When it’s hard to simply get out of bed, taking a shower or brushing teeth can seem like an impossible task. It is important to remember that you are not lazy or gross; you are just struggling right now. 

Try your best to take even small steps to maintain personal hygiene. These small steps can help you feel better physically and more accomplished mentally. The following hygiene hacks can help. 

Bathing
  • Use dry shampoo: dry shampoo can help remove the extra oil in your hair. Hold it 4-6 in away from hair and spray directly at the roots. Then, using your fingertips, massage the product into the roots and scalp so it’s evenly distributed. 
  • Try a sink bath or use baby wipes: for a sink bath, use a wash cloth and some soap in the sink and use it to wash the “dirtier” areas (such as armpits, etc.). You can even try washing your hair under the faucet if the sink is deep enough. Baby wipes are another alternative you can use even while still in bed. 
  • Take a bath instead of a shower, or purchase a shower chair: if the thought of standing in the shower for a long time deters you from taking a shower, consider taking a bath or buying a shower chair. You could also make the bath a relaxing, therapeutic experience, with bath bombs and essential oils.

 

SOURCE

Brushing Teeth

There are a number of ways to keep breath fresh and your mouth relatively  clean when you haven’t been able to brush your teeth. These include: 

    • Using mouthwash
    • Chewing minty gum: look for sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, a naturally-occurring sweetener that reduces cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Examples include: 5 Sugar-free gum, Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Sugar-free Chewing, and Orbit Sugar-free gum
    • Using disposable toothbrushes: Wisps, disposable toothbrushes, are difficult to find in stores but can be found here. They don’t require water and are great for when it is difficult to get out of bed.

 

SOURCE 

Laundry
  • Consider purchasing clothing dry wash sprays (such as this one) meant to give clothing a refresh. 
  • Use stain removing pens and wipes to get stains out.
  • For wrinkly clothes, use wrinkle release spray (such as this one) that removes most wrinkles without an iron.
Brushing Hair
  • If you haven’t brushed your hair in a long time and it is very knotted, try deep conditioning it. This involves applying the conditioner, covering the hair with a shower cap, and wrapping it in a warm towel for 20-40 min. Then, rinse out the deep conditioner with cold water. This can help you more easily untangle the knotted hair.

Sleep

Sleep

Sleep becomes so messed up when we’re depressed. We’re either sleeping all the time, or we can’t sleep at all because thoughts just keep running through our mind. For some of us, it’s easy to fall asleep and we’re sleeping way too much, and for others, it’s hard to fall asleep. 

The tips below are to give you information and resources for developing healthy sleep habits, and what to do when you just can’t catch those zzz’s.

Tips for Healthy Sleep / Increasing The Likelihood of Sleep

Follow a Consistent Sleep Schedule, Even on Weekends
  • Go to bed and get up at the same times each day. This sets the body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night.
  • Set a bedtime that is early enough to get at least 7 hours of sleep. 
  • Avoid napping. If you must nap, try to keep it short and before 5 p.m.
Do Not Use Your Bed in the Daytime
  • Even if it means moving from your bed to the couch, try to do so for the sake of sleep health. Do not use your bed for things like watching TV, talking on the phone or eating. Your bed should only be used for sleep and sex.
Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine, Alcohol, Heavy Meals, and Exercise 4-6 Hours Before Bedtime
  • Stimulating chemicals and energizing activities keep you awake, so try to limit their intake before bed,
  • While alcohol may help to bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, which decreases sleep quality. Try to limit drinking to 0-2 drinks/day and avoid drinking in the hours before bedtime.
Go to Sleep When You Are Truly Tired
  • Struggling to fall asleep can be frustrating. If you can’t sleep after ~20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do a relaxing activity, such as reading or meditating, until you are tired.
Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine
  • Signal to your mind that it is time to wind down with a period of relaxing activities about 30 min-1 hour before bed. Some activities can include: 
    • Taking a bath/shower (the rise and then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness)
    • Reading a book
    • Meditating to calm your thoughts. You can do this  on your own or using an app like Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer.
Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sleep-Inducing Environment
  • A quiet, dark, and cool environment best promotes sleep. To achieve this, use earplugs or invest in a white noise machine to lower noise volume, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block light, and keep the temperature between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Keep computers, TVs and work materials out of the room in order to strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleeping.
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Try an App

What To Do When You Can't Sleep

Feeling Calm But Wide Awake
  • Get out of bed, go to another room, and do an activity that will not wake you up further, such as reading a boring book. As you start getting tired, go back to bed. 
  • Try a light snack, such as an apple or crackers.
Feeling Anxious, or Ruminating

Put Your Face in Cold Water
  • This technique is known as the temperature TIPP skill of dialectical behavioral therapy. 
  • In order to calm down your thoughts, try holding your breath and putting your face in a bowl of cold water or holding a cold pack on your eyes and cheeks for at least 30 seconds.
  • This will cue your mammalian diving reflex, which causes our body chemistry to change—heart rate drops down immediately and the “rest and digest” nervous system is activated to prompt a relaxation response
  • For a demonstration of this skill, click here
Try Meditating
  • The 9-0 meditation technique can be helpful. Breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly, saying in your mind the number 9. On the next breath out, say 8; next breath out, say 7, and so on until 0. Then, start over, but this time start with 8 as you breathe out, followed by 7, and so on until 0. Keep focusing on the numbers. Continue this until you fall asleep. 
Focus On The Bodily Sensation of the Rumination
  • How does the rumination make your body feel? Tight? Heavy? Is a particular area of your body more affected than another area? 
Reassure Yourself
  • Ruminating at night is often just “middle-of-the-night-worries.” In the morning you will usually think and feel differently.
If the Rumination Does Not Stop
  • If it is solvable, solve it. If it is insolvable, think about what the very worst outcome you can imagine would be, and imagine coping ahead with that catastrophe. 

Exercise

Exercise

Oh, exercise – that thing you know is so good for you but is so difficult to do when depressed. Exercise isn’t just good for the physical benefits; research has shown that it can be just as effective as the leading medication and therapy treatments for depression. That’s why friends, family, and especially care providers keep recommending it. 

The key to getting started with exercising when depressed is to start off small. Just get moving. If going for a walk is your goal and you’re stuck in bed, for instance:

  • Try simply moving your arms and legs.
  • Then maybe you’ll feel ready to get out of bed and walk to the kitchen. Stop there and see how you feel.
  • Maybe you’ll feel ready to walk to the front door, and just sit outside and breathe fresh air.
  • Maybe you will stop there for the day, or maybe you’ll be able to walk down the street. Keep going if you can!

Try not to judge, and instead celebrate each action you’re able to do. The exercises below can help get you started, based on where you’re at.

Exercise for Depression

Try the Wakeout App

If there is one app to download for exercising while depressed, it's this one.
- Choose workouts that are as short as 30 seconds, based on where you are (bedroom, living room, work, sitting, standing, etc.).
- Customize based on mood (relaxing, energizing, intense, or fun) and length of workout.

Click Here for More Info

How to Exercise When You Are Depressed

Exercise is one of the best tools on managing depression. The cruel irony, of course, is that depression makes it harder to exercise...thankfully, it’s not impossible.

Yoga For Depression - Yoga With Adriene

Yoga For Depression is a 15 min yoga practice to help balance and restore both the physical and emotional body.

1 Hour Pilates Class for Stress, Anxiety, & Depression

Intermediate/advanced level.

4 Yoga Poses for Depression

Yoga for depression

Depression and Exercise - A Simple Workout

This is a video for any person suffering with depression and anxiety that would like to start exercising but not sure how.

Chair Exercises (Can Do Sitting Down)

Yoga at Your Desk

This sequence is ideal for those who want to sneak in a quick yoga break or for those who are in healing and want to practice a little bit of opening with the support of a chair.

Chair Exercises - Seated Chair Workout

Chair exercises seated workout by Lucy Wyndham-Read

12 Core Strengthening Exercises You Can Do In The Office (Without Leaving Your Seat)

Finally, you can have a stronger core than before... Without needing to go to the gym or lay out a yoga mat.

Workouts You Can Do Sitting Down

By Goodful

Chair Stretches Class. Seated Total Body Flexibility Routine

This video is a Chair Stretch Flow Class. Seated Total Body Routine

Low-Intensity Seated Cardio Work Out

Join Natalie Ikeman, PA-C from the HCMC Golden Valley Clinic while she takes you through a low-intensity seated cardiovascular exercise.

Exercises to Lose Your Arms & Stomach While Sitting Down : Pilates & Core Exercises

By eHowFitness

3 Best Couch Exercises

You don't need a gym or equipment to get a great workout! These 3 exercises can be done from a couch.

Bed Exercises (Can Do Lying Down)

12 Easy Exercises To Do In Bed To Reduce Fat

*Note- exercising for the sake of getting active and feeling better emotionally is encouraged (losing weight isn't the goal of the videos recommended on the CFD website)

5-Minute AB Exercises in Bed!

These moves will strengthen your core and keep you awake in the morning.

Lazy Couch/Bed Potato Workout (100% Lying Down)

Note- CFD did not name this video. We are in no way implying that you are lazy. You are doing the best you can. This video simply had great workout ideas.

Ultimate Daily Stretching Routine for Flexibility and Relaxation

The best time for me to get more flexible is right before bed.

Abs and Leg Workout In BED (10 Mins)

Welcome to a fun and exciting workout, that you can do in bed! Yes, you can stay nice and warm while you do this routine and of course, stay in your pajamas too.

5-Minute Fat-Burning Workout You Can Do In Bed

*Note- exercising for the sake of getting active and feeling better emotionally is encouraged (losing weight isn't the goal of the videos recommended on the CFD website)

Lazy Girl Full Body Workout - 7 min. (NO JUMPING)

Note- CFD did not name this video. We are in no way implying that you are lazy. You are doing the best you can. This video simply had great workout ideas.

10 minute Bedtime Yoga In Bed | Relaxing Bedtime Yoga Routine

Relaxing yoga routine in bed.

Nutrition & Recipes

Nutrition & Recipes

Eating is an issue for many people experiencing depression. Exhaustion and/or lack of motivation, among several other factors, can make planning and preparing meals feel like the last things you’d want to do. Some folks may turn to highly processed comfort foods, while others may not even eat for days at a time.

7 Tips for Cooking & Eating When You're Depressed

1. Plan Ahead When You're Feeling OK
  • Make a List of Meal Ideas: When depressed, sometimes just thinking about things to make is overwhelming. When you’re not feeling too crappy, make a list of simple things you can easily make when/if a depressive episode hits again. Some examples are: peanut butter and banana on toast with a yogurt, meal-replacement smoothies, or pita pizzaCheck out the “Depression-Friendly” Recipes section for ideas.
  • Plan For The Future: When you’re feeling up for cooking, make some extra to portion into meals for the future. Future You will thank you.
2. Stock Up on Frozen Vegetables, Microwaveable Rice, and a Protein
  • Benefits: Frozen foods and instant rice keep forever, are cheap, and take no time to prepare. Pair them with a protein (think: rotisserie chicken, scrambled eggs, tofu, etc.) and you have a complete meal. Click here to learn how to roast frozen vegetables (spoiler: it’s super easy), and here for different sauces to put on your rice+veggie+protein combo so each meal is unique.
3. Delivery is Your Friend

If you’re able to swing it financially, get food delivered to you!

  • Allow yourself to order take-out: Spending a bit more on take-out right now might be a wiser decision compared to not eating at all.
  • Get your groceries delivered: Check out Instacart and Peapod. Whisk is also a great app that allows you to import ingredients from a recipe into a grocery list, and connect that list to a grocery delivery service. Easy peasy.
4. Temporarily Forget About Saving the Environment
  • Make use of plastic utensils, paper plates, and disposable aluminum pans: We know, this one is hard to swallow. But just for now, give yourself permission to use these things- reducing the number of dishes you’ll have to wash can make cooking so much less of a pain.
5. Invest in a Slow Cooker and/or Instant Pot
  • Seriously. Throw ingredients in and let the device do the work for you. Get an Instant Pot here and a slow cooker here
6. Get By With a Little Help From Your Friends
  • You can’t do everything alone: Ask for help – maybe a friend or family member can pick up some groceries for you or help you prepare meals.
7. Break Big Meals Up into Smaller Ones
  • 3 meals too much right now? Break them into 6 mini-meals per day to make it easier.

Nutrition Rules of Thumb

The MyPlate is an easy way to make sure your meal is healthy and nutritious. Click on the image below to enlarge & learn more.

Difficulty Affording Food

Having difficulty affording food on top of being depressed is very stressful. Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help: 

Plan Ahead Before Going to the Store

Making a plan before heading to the store can help you make fewer shopping trips, buy only the items you need, and save money. 

  • Plan Your Meals: Use the Depression-Friendly Recipes to help you plan meals that are easy to cook, or the MyPlate Kitchen recipe tool for low-cost recipe ideas. Make sure to check to see what ingredients you already have so you don’t buy double. This meal planning worksheet can help with figuring out what to make.
  • Save More: Make sure you eat before you shop so you don’t impulse-buy, and use coupons, but only for items you know you’ll use. Click here for more money-saving tips.
Shop Smart in the Store
  • Know Your Food: Did you know that frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh? Or that kidney beans, lentils and split peas are a great & affordable source of protein? Click here for more helpful budget-friendly tips on shopping, broken down by food group.
Make Budget-Friendly Meals

Making meals is easier said than done when you’re feeling depressed. Try out: 

    • The MyPlate Kitchen: an interactive tool that features a searchable database of healthy, budget-friendly recipes, and options to create a cookbook and a shopping list. 
    • The Depression-Friendly Recipes on this page to find simple recipes that take little effort to make, for when depression days are particularly bad.
    • Don’t feel like coming up with a grocery list and planning meals? Use this sample 2-week menu to do the work for you. 
Apply for/Utilize Benefits

If you qualify for financial assistance for food, such as SNAP/WIC, make sure you’re receiving those benefits. 

    • If you have a lower income, you may qualify for SNAP. To apply for benefits, or get information about SNAP, contact your local SNAP office by locating it here. 
      • To find a SNAP retailer, click here.
    • If you are a woman and are pregnant and/or have a child(ren) under the age of 5, you may qualify for WIC. To apply for these benefits, contact your local office by locating it here. 
      • To find WIC-approved grocery  stores/pharmacies, click here. 
    • Many farmers’ markets accept SNAP and WIC. To locate a farmers’ market, click here

 

The recipes below were selected from various sources because they 1. don’t require much effort to make and 2. mostly use ingredients you may already have/can find easily. Are they the most exciting culinary creations in the world? Nope. Will they get the job done? Absolutely.

"Depression-Friendly" Recipes

  • Use the filters to refine results
  • “Less Effort” = no/optional chopping and/or fewer instructional steps; basically mix ingredients together. “Less Effort” does NOT mean less of an accomplishment, however. Making the choice to nourish your body despite feeling depressed is no small feat. 

Hope

Hope

Finding light at the end of the tunnel can seem impossible when you’re feeling so much pain and darkness. Having hope is critical to healing. Below are stories of individuals who have struggled with depression and have overcome it. They share their stories to show that it is possible to struggle significantly, and still make it through. 

Crisis

Crisis

If you are having thoughts of death or suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741. If you need immediate help, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Click here for  non-US crisis lines.

Play this video if you're having urges to kill yourself

Creating a Safety Plan

Creating a safety plan is an important way to prevent future crises and/or promote safety if crisis occurs. Below are a few recommendations: 

  • My 3 is a downloadable app recommended by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that creates a safety plan for people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
  • This safety plan template, created by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, can help people struggling with suicidal thoughts/behaviors to plan for future crisis, should it occur. 
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis
  • Navigating a Mental Health Crisis is a comprehensive resource guide created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness for those experiencing a mental health emergency.
Coping with Suicidal Thoughts
  • Now Matters Now provides skills for coping with suicidal thoughts, based on dialectical behavioral therapy.

Building Positivity

Building Positivity

Find ideas for activities to increase positive emotions.

Accumulating positive experiences is an important way to create invite more positive emotions into our lives. Developing this foundation of positive experiences and emotions can act as a protective barrier when our depression sets in, sometimes helping it to not get as bad as it might have been. This is why it is important to make sure you’re doing enjoyable and valued activities on a regular basis. 

Sometimes it is difficult to come up with enjoyable activities to do when you’re feeling low. Use the filters below to get some ideas.

Item
Going fishingOutdoorsCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Holding the door for someoneHelping OthersSocial
Going to the gymActiveSocial
Reading magazines or newspapersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Surprising someone with a favorSpiritualHelping Others
Playing golfOutdoorsActiveSocial
Eating yummy foodsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Thinking about pleasant events (i.e. birthdays, graduations, time with friends/family, etc.)At HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Having family get-togethersSocial
Watching an inspiring YouTube videoSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
SewingCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Planning a day’s activitiesAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Reading blogs or articles onlineAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Thinking how it will be when I finish schoolAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Talking on the phone At HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Thinking about a friend's good qualitiesSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going to the spa, or saunaCan Do Sitting DownSocialPampering
Looking at photosAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Thinking, "I have a lot more going for me than most people"At HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Taking a break from technologySpiritualPampering
Discussing booksAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Going window shopping ActiveSocial
Trying on/Buying clothesCreativeActiveSocial
Doodling/Coloring in the coloring bookCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Signing up to become a Big Brother or Big SisterHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Lying in the sunOutdoorsSpiritualCan Do Sitting Down
Spending an evening with good friendsAt HomeSocial
Thinking about having a familyAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Going skiingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Going campingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Creating an aquariumCreativeAt Home
Going to a partyActiveSocial
Writing a list of the things I valueSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going bowlingActiveSocial
Buying giftsActiveHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going swimmingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Riding a motorcycleOutdoors
Thoughts about happy moments in my childhoodAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Thinking, "I’m an OK person"At HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Listening to the sounds of natureOutdoorsSpiritualCan Do Sitting Down
Repairing things around the houseActiveAt Home
Recalling past partiesAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Going to a sports game (or rugby, soccer, basketball, etc.)OutdoorsSocial
Going to the hillsOutdoorsActiveSocial
GardeningOutdoorsCreativeActive
Watching an online religious serviceSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Listening to othersHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Going canoeing or white-water raftingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Lighting candlesSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Doing crossword puzzlesAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Thinking about my past tripsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Singing with groupsCreativeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Making a smoothie and drinking it slowlyAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Cooking, bakingCreativeAt Home
Binge-watching that trashy TV show I’ve been thinking about starting.At HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Reading cards others have written to meAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Smiling at a strangerHelping OthersCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Jogging, walkingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Getting/giving a massageHelping OthersAt HomeSocialPampering
Helping someone who is struggling with chores, meals, etc.Helping OthersSocial
Joining or forming a bandCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Playing squashActiveSocial
Selling or trading somethingAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Fantasizing about the futureAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Having coffee at a cafeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Having discussions with friendsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Making jigsaw puzzlesAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Buying household gadgetsAt Home
Going rock climbingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Going to church, praying (practising religion)SpiritualCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Making a gift for someoneCreativeHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going hikingOutdoorsActive
Sketching, paintingCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Writing diary/journal entries or lettersCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Playing cardsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Going bike ridingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Early morning coffee and newspaperAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going out to dinnerCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Playing soccerOutdoorsActiveSocial
Dressing up and looking niceCreativeAt HomePampering
Doing embroidery, cross stitchingCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Taking the afternoon off of work/schoolAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
ActingCreativeActiveSocial
Taking a "stay-cation" (or a vacation!)OutdoorsActiveAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Playing musical instrumentsCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Getting a haircutCan Do Sitting DownSocialPampering
Remembering the words and deeds of loving peopleAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Finding ways to practice compassion with othersSpiritualHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Buying a bag of my favorite candy and eat one piece a day until the month is over.Can Do Sitting DownPampering
Doing woodworkingCreativeSocial
Planning to go to school or universityAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Refinishing furnitureCreativeAt Home
Shooting poolActiveSocial
Writing books (poems, articles)CreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Arranging flowersCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Researching volunteer opportunitiesHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
DaydreamingAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Smelling my favorite essential oils or candlesSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Working on my carOutdoorsCreativeActive
Getting a manicureCan Do Sitting DownSocialPampering
Thinking “I did that pretty well” after doing somethingAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
EatingAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going to the hairdresserCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Going to the beachOutdoorsActiveSpiritual
Taking a long and leisurely bubble bath.At HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
WorkingCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Thinking about becoming active in the communityAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Having lunch with a friendOutdoorsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Taking children placesOutdoorsActiveHelping OthersSocial
Going for a driveCan Do Sitting Down
Having a political discussionAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Thinking religious thoughtsSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Working on my car/bicycleOutdoorsActive
Going to plays and concertsOutdoorsCreativeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Thinking, "I’m a person who can cope"At HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
DancingCreativeActiveSpiritualAt Home
Going horseback ridingOutdoorsActiveSocial
PhotographyOutdoorsCreativeAt Home
MeditatingSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Singing around the houseCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Buying things for myself in the storeActivePampering
Going to clubs (garden, sewing, etc.)CreativeActiveSocial
Thrift store shoppingCreativeActiveSocial
Going downtown or to a shopping mallOutdoorsActiveSocial
Going birdwatchingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Donating something I don't useHelping Others
Creating a care package for someone I care about (i.e. best friend, mom, dad, sibling, mentor, etc.)CreativeHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Planning a careerAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Fighting for a causeSpiritualHelping OthersSocial
Thinking about getting marriedAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Flying kitesOutdoorsActiveSocial
Collecting things (coins, shells, etc.)CreativeAt Home
Going to the local ice cream parlor and indulging in an ice cream cone or sundae.SocialPampering
Meeting new peopleSocial
Doing ballet, jazz/tap dancingCreativeActiveSocial
Practising karate, judo, yoga OutdoorsActiveSpiritualAt HomeSocial
Thinking about my good qualitiesAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Reading fictionCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Star gazing OutdoorsCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Rearranging the furniture in my houseActiveAt Home
Visiting people who are sick, shut in, or in troubleActiveHelping OthersSocial
Thinking about retirementAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Going on a picnicOutdoorsCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Reading non-fictionAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
CleaningActiveAt Home
Going to the libraryCan Do Sitting Down
Conducting experimentsCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Thinking about buying thingsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Making a card and giving it to someone I care aboutCreativeSpiritualHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
DrivingCan Do Sitting Down
Solving riddles mentallyAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Saying “I love you”Helping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Watching my children (play)OutdoorsAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Composing or arranging songs or musicCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going to a movieCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Learning to do something new (i.e. new language, craft, game, etc.)CreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Throwing a barbecueOutdoorsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Playing tennisOutdoorsActiveSocial
Watching movies or videosCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Making lists of tasksAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Remembering beautiful sceneryAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Planning a career changeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Listening to the radioAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Texting a friend out of the blueHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Playing video/computer gamesAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Buying, selling stocks and sharesAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Travelling to national parksOutdoorsActiveSocial
Going to a fair, carnival, circus, zoo, or amusement parkOutdoorsActiveSocial
Buying things for myself onlineAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Teaching a skill I know Helping OthersSocial
Listening to musicCreativeSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Reflecting on how I’ve improvedSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Going sailingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Buying a meal for a homeless personHelping OthersSocial
Going to museums, art galleriesCreativeActiveSocial
Going on a dateOutdoorsActiveAt HomeSocial
Going ice skating, roller skating/bladingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Donating food to a food pantryHelping Others
KissingAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Playing volleyballOutdoorsActiveSocial
SleepingAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Playing a board gameAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Thinking about my achievementsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownThinking/Imagination
Thinking of 3 things I am grateful forSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Going to my favorite deli, ordering my favorite sandwich, and having it for lunch someplace outside.Can Do Sitting DownSocialPampering
Reading a book of spiritual quotes/teachingsSpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Watching stand-up on YouTubeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocialPampering
Knitting/crocheting/quiltingCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Making a donation to charity (even if it's small!)Helping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Buying booksActiveAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
SightseeingOutdoorsActiveSocial
Doing arts and craftsCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Having quiet eveningsAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Playing with my petsHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Taking care of my plantsOutdoorsCreativeActiveAt Home
Planning partiesCreativeHelping OthersAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
ExercisingOutdoorsActiveAt HomeSocialPampering
Travelling abroad, interstate or within the stateOutdoorsActiveSocial
Listening to an audiobook (try Audible or Librivox)At HomeCan Do Sitting DownPampering
Watching a movie from IMBD's list of 100 top-rated filmsAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocialPampering
Taking an online classAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Planning a tripCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Video chatting with a friendAt HomeCan Do Sitting DownSocial
Watching a TED Talk (check out Brene Brown, Dan Gilbert, or Dan Pink)SpiritualAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Learning to play a musical instrumentCreativeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Learning how to codeAt HomeCan Do Sitting Down
Decluttering my closetActiveAt Home

Care Access

Care Access

Getting appropriate care while dealing with depression can be daunting at first, but it is often the first step toward recovery. Finding the right provider, though, can be difficult, because of financial constraints and concerns about the provider’s ability to care for your specific needs. Below you’ll find information for finding a mental health provider with or without financial resources and for locating a provider with experience working specific populations (i.e. BIPOC, LGBTQIA+). You’ll also find important information about affording medications, and inpatient/residential treatment. 

General Therapist/Psychiatrist Access

Have Insurance / Can Afford Treatment
  • Look in-network with your insurance to see list of recommended providers.
  • Zencare is a database of vetted therapists. Includes videos of therapists, insurance information, clinical specialties, and up-to-date information. Ability to have 10 min free initial consultation call with therapists. Only in some states.
  • PsychologyToday and TherapyDen are large databases of therapists in the U.S.
  • Contact local counseling centers to inquire about potential therapists.
  • Contact a resource specialist with Resources to Recover, an organization that offers families affected by mental illness guidance, support and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care.
Don't Have Insurance / Difficulty Affording Treatment

Don’t have insurance/have difficulty affording treatment? Try the following options:

Community Health Centers & Free Clinics
  • Contact a community health center and/or community mental health center. Find one here.
  • Contact a free clinic to inquire about services.
Private Therapists
  • See if private therapists are willing to work on a sliding scale (especially those who don’t take insurance).
  • OpenPathCollective – a non-profit nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing in-office mental health care—at a steeply reduced rate.
Teaching Hospitals
  • See about clinics where you can get reduced cost treatment from psychiatry residents and/or clinical psychology students. Call the psychology, psychiatry, or behavioral health department & inquire about sessions with graduate students, who are supervised and can provide services at a lower cost as they gain counseling experience.
NAMI
SAMHSA
  • SAMHSA is a government organization that maintains a database of low-cost treatment facilities across the U.S. and is a “go-to” resource for locating affordable mental health care nationwide. Contact SAMHSA at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or online at their Treatment Locator.
Social Services Databases
Place of Worship
  • Local place of worship (if applicable) may offer counseling from a trained minister, rabbi, priest, imam, etc., which is usually free. Most are members of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. If your place of worship doesn’t have counseling, they may have a fund available to help you pay for treatment.
Place of Employment
  • If employed, you may want to see whether or not your employer offers an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). An EAP is an employer-paid benefit that is separate from your medical plan. It’s designed to help employees through difficult situations.
    • Employees usually can access counseling through an EAP for no cost, however there is usually a limit to the number of free sessions.
    • To check if you have an EAP, call the 800 number on the back of your insurance card or call your HR department.
Online/App-Based Therapy
  • Online/App-Based therapy can be helpful and more affordable for some people. Some options are BetterHelp, TalkSpace or 7 Cups of Tea, which charge a fee per week. Real is a new online therapy platform for under $30/month and Sesh offers online group support led by therapists.
Treatment Scholarships

The To Write Love On Her Arms organization provides treatment & recovery scholarships to those facing financial barriers to treatment. Fill out a scholarship application here. 

Sources: NBCNews, NAMI

Care Resources for Specific Populations

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

General BIPOC
  • Inclusive Therapists aims to make the process of seeking therapy simpler and safer for all people, especially marginalized populations.
  • Melanin and Mental Health connects individuals with culturally competent clinicians committed to serving the mental health needs of Black & Latinx/Hispanic communities.
  • The National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) is a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC).
  • The Ayana Therapy app strives to address the strong lack of engagement between minorities and the mental health care industry by matching users with licensed professionals that share their unique traits, values, and sensibilities.
  • FindAMulticulturalTherapist.com is a psychotherapy directory specializing in providing an opportunity for people from different cultural backgrounds to find a therapist who shares their cultural experience. Our goal is to assist in connecting individuals to culturally competent therapist.
Black and African American Communities
  • Black Mental Health Alliance develops, promotes, and sponsors trusted, culturally-relevant educational forums, trainings, and referral services that support the health and wellbeing of Black people and other vulnerable communities.
  • The Loveland Foundation provides financial support for therapy for Black women and girls.
  • Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. It also has a directory to help with finding culturally-competent therapists.
  • Therapy for Black Men is a directory to help men of color in their search for a therapist.
  • The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is an organization working to change the perception of mental illness in the African-American community by encouraging people to get the help they need. Click here for their directory of mental health providers and programs that serve the Black community. 
  • Black Therapist Network is network that helps connect you to a list of Black therapists around the country to serve your needs.
  • Association of Black Psychologists has a directory comprised of psychologists who are members of The Association of Black Psychologists who own and operate their own private practice business or are employed as therapists.
Latinx/Hispanic Communities
  • Therapy for Latinx is a national directory of Latinx therapists for the Latinx community.
  • Latinx Therapy is a directory of Latinx therapists. Enter your zipcode to search for a therapist near you.
  • Latinx Therapists Action Network. The Latinx Therapists Action Network Directory is a directory of licensed, culturally grounded, Latinx mental health practitioners who believe in the human rights of migrant peoples. 
  •  
Native and Indigenous Communities
  • IHS Division of Behavioral Health addresses severe behavioral health issues that impact American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals, families, and communities. To locate mental health programs in your area, search the IHS Healthcare Locator by checking the “Behavioral Health” under “Choose facility types.”
Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities

LGBTQIA+

SOURCE, SOURCE

Affording Medications

Tips
  • Use discount programs: GoodRx and Blink Health are fantastic resources that offer significant discounts on meds. They can also help you to compare prices at different pharmacies to help you find the cheapest option.
  • Ask around: all pharmacies do not charge the same price for a medication. Call different pharmacies in your area or use GoodRx or Blink Health to compare prices.
  • Ask your doctor for coupons: If you’re receiving your medication for the first time, your doctor might have coupons, or can help you apply to the medication supplier to help you receive a discount (if you meet income requirements). 
  • Get insurance: private insurance, and public aid programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, can greatly offset the cost of paying for medication. Click here to see if you qualify for Medicaid, and here to see if you qualify for Medicare. 

 

SOURCE

Inpatient/Residential Treatment

Finding Treatment

Help with Choosing an Inpatient/Residential Facility
Residential Treatment-Specific Resources
  • Consult the American Residential Treatment Association – they maintain a partial list of residential treatment facilities across the U.S. (NOTE: this list is NOT comprehensive and resources listed can be costly).
  • Use the Psychology Today directory and filter results according to the type of treatment facility you’re seeking.
  • Keep in mind:  CARF International is an independent, non-profit accreditor of health and human services.  On their website you can utilize their Find an Accredited Provider function to locate a CARF-accredited treatment facility.
  • Contact a resource specialist with Resources to Recover, an organization that offers families affected by mental illness guidance, support and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care.

SOURCE: NAMI

Understanding Hospitalization for Depression

Hospitalization can be necessary to help stabilize symptoms when depression becomes severe.  Many people go to the hospital when depression gets bad. Rather than a place to fear, the hospital is a place for you to stabilize and stay safe.

Occupational / Educational

Occupational/Educational

Occupational

Work and depression often don’t mix – it can be incredibly difficult to perform your best (or at all) at work while experiencing symptoms of depression. Find resources below for wherever you’re at- currently employed and trying to make it through, going through the job hunt while depressed, or unable work because of depression. Wherever you’re at, you are not alone. 

Currently Employed - Navigating the Workplace

Depression can make going to work feel nearly impossible, but there are some ways making things more manageable. Make sure to read up on various tips for working with depression, and know your rights as far as what protections you’re entitled to as an employee with depression.

Tips for Working While Depressed

Working while experiencing depression can feel next to impossible some days. Below are a few tips for navigating work while depressed. 

 

  • Break up tasks: it can be difficult to combat the lack of concentration and energy that often accompanies depression. Breaking up tasks into small chunks can be helpful. For example, instead of writing an entire newsletter in one sitting, try just writing one paragraph.  Then take a break if you need to, and try writing another paragraph.  It’ll be less daunting to complete the task when it’s broken up into smaller chunks, and you might find that once you get started, things will start to flow more.
  • Say no: Be sure to delegate tasks when appropriate. If you feel comfortable, consider letting colleagues know about your condition so they understand where you’re coming from. 
  • Speak about your depression: While there are potential downsides to being open about your mental health condition at work, if you are in a position to do so, it can be beneficial to disclose to coworkers and supervisors. This can help coworkers support you when you are having a bad day, for instance, and there also may be potential accommodations available to you (i.e. working from home). 
  • Personalize your workspace: Physical environment can have a large influence on mood. Lighting, temperature, colors, and noise all have the potential to impact your mental health. Try to make your space positive and comfortable – bring plants, pictures of people you care about, inspirational quotes, etc. If loud noises affect your attention span/mood, consider purchasing noise-canceling headphones to help. 
  • Create a wellness kit: create a kit of wellness supplies to help you cope with low mood while you’re at work. Examples of supplies could include: 
    • Essential oils of your favorite grounding scents
    • Stress balls/silly putty 
    • Ear buds for listening to a meditation or favorite playlist
    • Tissues
    • Calming teas
    • Instant ice packs (in periods of high emotional intensity)
    • Small journal & pen to write down thoughts

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Know Your Rights as an Employee

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees with disabilities. The law applies to private employers with 15+ employees and state and local government employers. 

 

  • Though you must be able to perform the essential tasks of your job, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations. These are adjustments made to work procedures/rules to help you perform your job. Examples include:
    • flexible work schedules
    • reduced noise in the work area
    • regular written/verbal feedback
    • private, quiet space to rest during a break

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Requesting Accommodations at Your Workplace

Though the ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations at your workplace to help you perform your job duties (see “Know Your Rights as an Employee”). To request an accommodation:

 

  • Ask your employer’s HR department how to request an accommodation
  • Decide what type of accommodations you need & be ready to explain how they will help you do your job
  • Put your request in writing
  • Talk with your treatment provider (therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) to see if they can provide documentation
  • Take notes and keep a written record of any conversations you have with your employer (i.e. keep copies of emails and forms). 
  • Know that once you submit your request, your employer is required to talk with you about possible accommodations. 

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Taking a Leave of Absence from Work

Sometimes, you may need to take off multiple weeks in order to cope with depression.

 

  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that allows you to take off up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event of an illness (or to care for a sick family member), while preserving your job and benefits.
  • The caveats to FMLA:
    • FMLA applies to employers with more than 50 employees
    • You must work a minimum of 12 months for the same employer to quality
    • If you are denied FMLA, contact the Department of Labor to file a complaint. 

 

SOURCE: NAMI, U.S. Dept of Labor

What to Do if You've Experienced Discrimination

If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against because of your depression, there are a number of actions you can take:

SOURCE: NAMI

Looking for Work

Being out of a job and living with depression is a really tough situation to be in. Congratulate yourself for taking steps to look for a job and know that you are more than your career. Below are a few tips for navigating the job search process while living with depression.

Treat Job Hunting Like a Job

Not having scheduled time can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and disconnection. Try to create structure for yourself by setting office hours for searching for jobs and creating deadlines to work more efficiently. Make sure to give yourself frequent breaks to recharge, such as a walk outside or a call with a family member. 

Set Some Achievable Goals

Research has shown that setting and reaching goals has a strong inverse relationship with depression. Set small, achievable goals, such as sending out X number of cover letters or even something unrelated, such as learning a new song on the piano. Small wins can make you feel much better about yourself.

Stay Busy with Different Activities

It can be very tempting to stay in bed all day when you’re unemployed and depressed. After all, your former job was likely a large motivator in getting you out of bed each morning. Though you may not feel up for it, this could be a wonderful opportunity to learn a new hobby or volunteer at an organization you care about, in addition to your job search. Not only can you gain new skills and a greater sense of fulfillment, but staying busy can help ease some of your symptoms of depression as well.

Build a Support System

Being out of work and clinically depressed can make the hard days seem impossible sometimes. Looking for a job requires stamina and energy, and a strong support network can help you so you don’t give up. Friends and family can also remind you that you are not alone throughout this process. Make sure you reach out to your support network a lot during the job search process. 

Stay Organized

Depression brain can make it so that your memory isn’t the most reliable. Try to stay organized by tracking information like place you’re considering applying, where you’ve applied, what the outcomes have been, etc. so that you don’t have to rely on your memory alone for all the information. 

Know Your Rights

You are not required to disclose your mental illness(es) with prospective employers. The Americans with Disabilities Act considers clinical depression a protected disability, which means you can’t be discriminated against because of your depression.

SOURCES: NYTimes, TheMuse

Currently Unemployed & Unable to Work

In some instances, there may be periods of time when working becomes so difficult or treatment is so intense that maintaining employment isn’t possible. These times are incredibly difficult, but you can get through them. Reach out to friends, family and your care team for help, and look into the following national , which provide monthly income and health insurance for people who can’t work: 

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

To qualify for SSDI you must have an impairment that prevents you from working for at least 12 months and you must have worked & paid into the Social Security program for a least 5 of the last 10 years.  To apply, you can go in-person to any Social Security office or file an application online here.

 

Things to keep in mind:

 

  • Your spouse and children in high school and younger can also receive your SSDI benefits
  • After 24 months on SSDI, you are eligible for Medicare benefits
  • You may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, too

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

To qualify for SSI benefits, you must have an impairment that prevents you from working on a regular basis. Additionally, you must have a very low income and less than $2000 in assets.

 

Things to keep in mind:

 

  • Children can also qualify for SSI benefits if they have an impairment
  • A couple may not have more than $3000 in assets
  • Depending on your state, you may also receive a monthly supplement from the state
  • You are eligible for Medicaid coverage

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Educational

Experiencing depression while in college can be a scary and lonely experience. Many students are far away from their support networks and may feel stress from increased academic workloads. Find resources below for wherever you are in your college journey: making the transition to college if your depression is already known, managing depression in college, requesting accommodations from the school, or taking a leave of absence if things get really tough. 

Transitioning to College with Depression

Transitioning from high school to college can be a big challenge, but especially for those of us living with depression. Having a plan in place for how to manage depression is an essential part of setting yourself up for success. 

Find Out What Mental Health Services Are Offered at Your School

Research what mental health services (if any) are available to students. For those that offer services, some important questions to ask the counseling center include: 

  • How many individual sessions are available per student and at what cost?
  • How long is the typical wait for an individual session?
  • Are there emergency or walk-in hours?
  • Is there a psychiatrist on campus that students have access to? If not, do they make referrals to psychiatrists in the community?
  • What (if any) group therapies are offered?

 

Figure Out The Five W's

Make a plan that consists of the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, & Why

  • Who: decide if you’ll continue to work with your current providers (and how- in-person, via telehealth, etc.) or if you’ll need to find new providers. Talk to your school, insurance provider, or go to the Care Access page for help finding a mental health provider. 
  • What:  Think about what you will you do to help maintain your wellness. Therapy & medication? Mood-tracking apps? Group therapy? Support groups? Specific coping skills?
  • When: Figure out how often you will meet with members of your mental health team
  • Where: Determine how you will travel to appointments – especially if the appointment is located far from where you live. Also, if you take medication, find the nearest pharmacy where you can pick up your meds. 
  • Why: Remind yourself why it’s important to maintain your health and wellness, especially in college when it is easy to let your wellness fall by the wayside. 

 

SOURCE: Mental Health America

Managing Depression in College

Stay Connected

You don’t have to deal with depression alone while in college. Staying connected to others can help you feel less isolated. 

    • Keep in touch with friends and family. Stay connected to friends and family from home that you normally go to when you’re feeling low. Maintaining those important relationships is key to ensuring you have people to turn to during a depressive episode. Schedule a regular time each week to talk over the phone or video chat, or see them in-person if you live close enough. 
    • Talk to friends on-campus: It’s definitely scary to open up to new people about your depression, but know that mental health diagnoses are actually quite common. According to The Center for Collegiate and Mental Health, nearly half of college students have attended counseling for mental health concerns (1). It’s likely that whoever you talk to either struggles with a mental illness or knows someone who does.
    • Consider joining a support group or mental health club.

      Support groups can be a great way to get support and meet new friends. Many college counseling centers offer support groups, and Mental Health America has a comprehensive listing of support groups you could attend. Mental health advocacy and awareness student clubs on campus can also be a great way to meet others struggling with depression and other mental illnesses. Active Minds is a popular student club that promotes mental health awareness on campuses. 

  1. Center for Collegiate and Mental Health. (2015, January). 2014 Annual Report. (Publication No. STA 15-30).

SOURCE: Mental Health America

Monitor Symptoms

Keeping a short daily record of symptoms can help you see if symptoms are getting worse. College can be chaotic and can make it hard to notice changes in your habits (i.e. sleeping or eating patterns) and corresponding changes in mood. Don’t wait to seek help when/if your mood gets consistently worse. You can use a paper journal or notebook to track your mood, or apps such as Daylio or Moodily.

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Maintain Healthy Habits
  • Try to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and get between 7-9 hours of sleep/night. Definitely easier said than done, but maintaining these healthy habits can boost your mood and increase energy. (Having trouble finding the energy/motivation to exercise? Click here for ideas. Having difficulty making food? Click here for easy “depression-friendly” recipes.)
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs is also another very important healthy habit. While in the short term, alcohol and drugs might provide you with a mood boost, they can have very poor effects on mood in the longer term and are not effective ways to cope with stress. Try your best to limit or avoid use of mood-altering drugs/alcohol. 

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Reduce Academic Stress

Make your life easier by using study groups, tutors, the campus writing center, and TAs in order to get the support you need in order to succeed in class. See if your college offers support with time management or study skills so you can study most effectively (Google “[Your School’s Name] + Academic Support Services” to see what they offer).

 

SOURCE: NAMI


Requesting Accommodations

If you think you might need extra help from the school in order to do your best in classes, try to ask your school for accommodations ASAP before you face any serious challenges, if possible. 

What Kind of Accommodations Can I Request?

 The accommodations you request depend on your specific needs and what your school is able to provide. The following list can give you ideas for what types of accommodations you can ask for: 

    • Getting priority registration
    • Reducing course load
    • Substituting one course for another
    • Allowing note takers and recording devices
    • Being able to work from home
    • Getting extended time for testing and/or deadlines for assignments
    • Receiving tutoring or study skills training
    • Being able to take exams in an individual room
    • Being able to change rooms or roommates
How to Ask for Accommodations

To receive accommodations, you will need to :

    • Identify what types of accommodations you’ll need. (FYI, if you currently receive special education services, your high school’s IDEA-mandated transition planning will help you put together a list of needs). 
    • Register with the disability resource office. Often, the disability office can offer a selection of accommodations for you to choose from. 
    • Provide documentation. The disability resource center will ask you to document that you have depression. From your provider, you’ll likely need: 
      • Documentation showing your diagnosis
      • Types of accommodations that have worked for you in the past/ that you anticipate needing in college
      • How your depression can impact your success in college

 

After you request specific accommodations, the school may approve the request or offer an alternative accommodation if it makes more sense. Work together with your school to get the support you need. If an accommodation isn’t working for you, contact the disability office ASAP to try to find a better support.

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Taking a Leave of Absence From College

Sometimes, depression can get so bad that taking a leave of absence from school is necessary in order to get treatment and address symptoms. If you’re considering taking a leave of absence, take the following into consideration: 

    • The policy at your school: contact the disability office or your academic advisor to inquire about the policy for taking a leave, what documentation you’ll need to provide and how long you are able to take a leave for
    • Class credits: You might lose your class credit or have to take incompletes and finish up your classes at a later time. You can also ask to retroactively withdraw from your classes if your grades suffered in the time leading up to your leave. Under the ADA, this is considered a reasonable accommodation. 
    • Financial aid: You may need to ask the financial aid office about whether or not you’ll need to repay your loans right away or if you’ll be given a grace period. Also, ask if any of your tuition could be refunded.
    • Returning to school: Returning to school requires college officials to sign off on your return. They usually consider how you managed your academic and medical affairs prior to the leave, your application essays, and medical documentation from your providers. Check with your academic advisor and/or the dean of students office to better understand this process. 

 

Can a School Require Me to Take a Leave?

Short answer: yes. A college can ask you to leave if they can show that there’s a clear risk you might harm yourself or someone else. If you believe your school is mistaken, seek legal advice. You can also consider filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

 

SOURCE: NAMI

Social

Social

Staying well-connected to friends and family while struggling with depression can be a challenge. When you’re in so much pain, it is easy to shut yourself in your room under a pile of blankets and let calls and texts go unanswered. Having high-quality relationships with others can be protective against depression; however, and can help you to start feeling better.

Use the following resources to figure out ways to increase your socialization, depending on how much effort it takes to leave the house. 

Leaving House Requires High Effort / Seeking Online Socialization
Opportunities That Require Less Effort

Sometimes, getting out of the house and talking to people is too much to handle. The following suggestions can be done from your home & minimize voice conversation, but still provide you with some form of socialization.

TV Can Count, If That's Where You're At.
  • If you’re not socializing at all, try doing something (even if it’s small) to expose yourself to another person- this can be through a text message or short phone call with someone, or can even be through watching a TV show or YouTube video with people in it.
Just Be With Someone Else
  • Sometimes having full conversations with others can be overwhelming. Call someone you trust, (or go where they are if they’re physically near you), and say, “I’m not feeling too well and I don’t want to be alone. Could we just be together right now and not talk? It’s just nice to have a friend.”
Get Online Support

Feeling like you’re not alone in your experience is incredibly powerful.

  • Just watched an interesting TV show or YouTube video or read a great online article? Go to the comments section on the article/video host page or social media page & respond to others’ comments. 
  • Have a particular interest or hobby? Find an interest-based online forum (by searching “[hobby/interest name] online forum” in Google or Facebook) and engage with the discussions. (Examples of forums here, here and here.)
Hashtags Are Helpful
  • Social media can be a place to have meaningful conversations with others, if you know where to look. Hashtags can be a great way to filter results so they’re more relevant. For example, as a start, try the following hashtags on Twitter to introduce you to various mental health communities: (stands for Suicide Prevention Social Media),

Opportunities That Require More Effort

If it is overwhelming to leave the house right now, but you’re comfortable doing activities from home & having conversations with others, try the following:

Video/Phone Support Groups
  • Support groups can be a great way to share your experience and learn from others’ experiences. If you’re not ready to show your face, simply turn your camera and/or microphone off and listen. Go at your own pace.
Call a Warmline

Not in crisis, but just need to talk to someone? Try calling a warmline! Warmlines were created so that people can have non-crisis support calls with trained volunteers. These calls are typically free, confidential, and run by people who understand what it’s like to struggle with mental health problems.

 

What to know before you call: 

  • Call a warmline in your own state first, if one exists. 
  • If one doesn’t exist or is busy, call a warmline in another state that is close to you and provides national service.
  • When you call, they might ask for some information, like where are you calling from.
Pursue Your Interests/Hobbies – Virtually!
Virtual Volunteering

Virtual volunteering has many rewards – not only do others benefit from your help, but giving back to others can improve your mood. Check out the following opportunities below: 

    • Provide tutoring and/or advice to low-income high school students to help them succeed through UPchieve.
    • Virtually help veterans and their families with career prep through mock interviews or job search advice.  See Hire Heroes USA for more info.
    • Be an online emotional support person at 7 Cups.
    • Use your vision to solve tasks for blind and low vision people with Be My Eyes.
    • Send a card or letter once/week to someone undergoing chemotherapy. Apply at Chemo Angels.
    • Find additional virtual volunteer opportunities at VolunteerMatch.

 

SOURCE: 25 Volunteer Jobs to Do from Home

 

Leaving House Is Not an Issue

Opportunities That Require Less Effort

Go to a Coffee Shop & Sit Down for a Little While

Coffee shops can be a great starting place for when you aren’t feeling up for talking to many people, but you also don’t want to feel alone. Plus, the promise of coffee and/or a sweet treat can be a great motivator to get out of the house.  Make it a goal to have a short interaction with at least one person, even if that means saying hello and asking how their day is going. 

Go to a Park

Along the lines of the coffee shop, spending time in a park can be a great way to spend time with people, without necessarily having to talk extensively with them. Have a dog? Go to a dog park and strike up a short conversation about another person’s pet. Easy conversation start + you’ll have your furry friend there for moral support.

Opportunities That Require More Effort

Say "Yes"

While it may be difficult for you to initiative making plans, try to resist the temptation to say no to invitations from others to spend time with them, even if you really don’t want to go. Oftentimes, you may notice that if you are able to spend time with people you care about, your mood will also improve. 

Reconnect with Old Friends

Reconnecting with old friends usually isn’t as scary as meeting a new group of people. Check out social media for ideas and then send people some texts to check in and perhaps make plans to meet.

Join a Meetup Group

Meetup is a website created for people to connect with others and find in-person events for people with similar interests. Find meetups for activities such as reading books, watching movies, playing sports, making crafts or create your own group if your interest isn’t represented. 

Take Adult Classes

Participating in an adult class or workshop can be a great way to meet others while learning something new. Want to make some new culinary creations? Take a cooking class and chat with the people at your table, Search for available classes online, from crafting to dancing to woodworking classes, or check out local community colleges.

Did you know...

Text on this page can be read to you!

Let’s face it – depression can make reading really difficult. That’s why we’ve tried to make this website as accessible as possible – no long paragraphs, and text-to-speech capabilities. Simply highlight the text you want to read and press the play button.*

*if you are using text-to-speech on a mobile phone, make sure the sound is on