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At Erika’s Lighthouse, we often hear many adults and teens alike share misinformation about depression. Below are some of the most common myths, and how we respond.

1. It is obvious as to who has depression.

Anyone can have depression.  It is not always the goth kid in the back of the classroom, it can be the cheerleader, the jock, the nerd, the artist: it can be ANYONE.  It is an illness that is felt on the inside, and not often seen on the outside, which can make it hard for people to notice.  That is why it is so important to tell someone if you think you are suffering from depression.  You are not alone and you can be helped.

2. Medicine is the best way to treat depression.

Medicine is one of the ways that depression can be treated, but it is not necessarily the best way.  Treatment typically starts with talk therapy and practicing a healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes, medication is introduced to supplement the treatment that is already underway.

3. All cases of depression lead to suicide.

People with depression don’t always take their life, but it is common for someone with depression to think about it.  90% of teens that die by suicide have at least one mental disorder.  It is important to recognize that people with depression don’t want to die, they just want the pain that they are feeling to stop.

4. People with depression can’t be happy or excited.

People with depression can have a life that looks fun and full and yet still be depressed.  Moods can shift rapidly with depression.  It is normal to think a joke is funny, or smile at a funny scene in a movie.  But if most of the time you are feeling the symptoms of depression that lasts for over two weeks, there might be something wrong and you should ask for help from a trusted adult.

5. If a friend of mine is depressed, there isn’t much I can do.

There is a lot a friend can do to help. They can encourage a friend to tell a parent or other adult and to seek help.  A friend can point out changes they have observed and ask if there is anything they can do to help. A friend can simply be there and remind them that they are not alone and are loved.  Just one friend can make a big difference in the life of someone who is depressed.

Adopted from our Study Guide.

For more facts and myths about depression, visit the Erika’s Lighthouse website or go to health.com for some common myths about depression and suicide.

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