By Denise Johnson, LCSW-C
Senior Practice Associate, Clinical Social Work
Depression is a very common and serious mental health condition that can significantly impact a person’s ability to function in all aspects of life. It can result from a number of social, emotional, and biological factors. In fact, those with other health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and substance use disorder are also at greater risk of developing depression .
With millions of people in the United States living with depression, clinical social workers and other behavioral healthcare providers continuously work to support the individuals and families they serve.
To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must last at least two weeks and represent a change in previous level of functioning. Signs and symptoms of depression include1:
- Irritability and feelings of hopelessness or guilt
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Having a little to no energy
- Physical aches and pain
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Suicidal thoughts
Spreading awareness is a way to combat the stigma associated with mental health. Depressive screenings can be beneficial since many people may experience depressive symptoms without realizing it and if left untreated depression can lead to suicide. Screenings are completed by licensed clinical social workers and include questions about symptoms, their severity, and duration.
Most people see improvements in their depressive symptoms with psychotherapy. They may also take medication or do a combination of the two. However, individuals should talk to a clinical social worker or other mental health provider to determine which treatment options would be the best for them.
The following resources offer more information on depression to include treatment options and best practices for clinical social workers:
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: The resources and information on this page are designed to help states, territories, tribes, mental health, and substance use disorder professionals, and others looking for information on understanding the background, history, funding opportunities, and implementation resources for strengthening suicide prevention and mental health crisis services.
NASW CE Institute: NASW offers hundreds of CE courses in a variety of formats—webinars, webcasts, podcasts, presentations, and more. All courses offered through this program are accredited by either the NASW National Office or one of NASW Chapters and NASW members receive discounted prices.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI works to educate, support, advocate, listen and lead to improve the lives of people with mental illness and their loved ones.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): NIMH is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders, offers basic information on mental disorders, a range of related topics, and the latest mental health research.
Social Workers Help Starts Here: This website has an array of information to include an online directory where individuals can find CSWs or other MH professionals in their area.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression