Depression and Suicide

Are you depressed or just plain sad?

Some people think depression is a very strong feeling of sadness. But there is a difference between sadness and depression.


Everyone is sad some of the time. It is a normal reaction to painful events. Normal sadness should end when a person comes to terms with the troubles that caused him or her to feel sad.

If you have had strong feelings of sadness for a very long time, you might want to see if your sadness is linked to depression. It is most likely that you do NOT have depression if your sadness is caused by:

  • The loss of a loved one (as long as symptoms do not last more than two months)
  • Drugs, alcohol or medicines
  • A general medical condition

Allow yourself the right to be sad. When painful events happen, being sad and crying can give you relief. Denying your feelings can be bad for you if those feelings build up and do long-term damage.


You may be suffering from depression if you have some or all the following symptoms, nearly every day:

  • Depressed mood most of the day
  • Loss of interest in most daily activities, most of the day
  • Major weight changes or changes in appetite
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Severe drop in school grades

Depression is a serious illness. It needs serious treatment.


If you are thinking about hurting yourself or others, call the Tennessee Crisis Hotline at 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471). It's a free call. You can call 24/7.

For Parents, Caregivers, Friends and Family – Can you tell if someone is thinking about suicide?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among children and adolescents. This is a big problem.

It can be hard to tell if a teen or adolescent is planning to kill themselves.

Warning signs of suicide can include:

  • Talking about suicide.
  • Writing, drawing and talking about death a lot.
  • Neglecting personal cleanliness and appearance.
  • Pulling away from friends, family and interests.
  • A change in personality – such as from quiet and shy to loud and reckless, or the other way around.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • New sexual behaviors.

An adolescent or teen may be more likely to kill themselves if they have:

  • history of depression
  • previous suicide attempt
  • family history of psychiatric disorders, especially depression or suicidal behavior
  • disruption in the family
  • chronic physical or psychiatric illness
  • alcohol use and alcoholism
  • history of physical or sexual abuse

Take all threats of suicide seriously. Get expert help for the person in trouble help right away. You can call 911. Or call the Tennessee Crisis Hotline at 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471).

Want more information about depression and suicide in teens and adolescents? Visit these websites: