What is Depression?

Welcome viewers! Humans of Depression is media campaign that targets health promotion on depression. A team of six Master of Public Health students will be blogging weekly over the next two months to encourage self autonomy to seek help, create open dialogue, promote resources, and reduce the stigma associated with depression. Lets discuss. #stompthestigma #allabouttheD #livingwithdepression = #LD #Defeatingdepression = #DD

Everyone goes through moods. ‘The blues’ is a mood we all experience from time to time but when it is persistent, it is often overlooked. It may very well be depression that you are experiencing. Depression impacts ones’ mental health and can debilitate daily functioning.

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder with low mood, or a maladaptive response to stress that can impair one mentally and physically 3. Mood disorders that include depressive states are major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, dysthymic disorder, perinatal depression, and seasonal affective disorder. Major depressive disorder (also referred to as clinical depression or unipolar depression) involves one or more depressive episode occurring at for at least two week 4. The depressive episode is a continuous low mood and/ or marked with lost of interest in activities. “Of those who have had a single major depressive episode, 50%-60% may develop a second one” 1. Major depressive disorder is disabling because of cognitive symptoms, increases risk for suicide, and impacts ones quality of life 3. Bipolar disorder consists of mania and depression that can occur for days, weeks, or months 4. These mood swings can cycle and range from elation to hopelessness. Dysthymic disorder is a chronic depressive mood most days with some symptom free periods but last at least two years 4. Prenatal depression is depression affects maternal and postnatal mothers 4. Seasonal affective disorder is depression that is affected by change in weather and time within the year 2. Depression can impose a burden on ones activities of daily living, impacting social interaction and functioning at work or school. Depression at school and work can influence ones absenteeism and presenteeism 3. Depression is a significant public health issue. The World Health Organization estimated major depressive disorder to be the single largest contributor to disease burden among ages 15 to 59 years old Canadians 5.

If you are curious and have questions about depression access resources within your school and the community. Check out the following link, sponsored by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health with psychiatrist, Dr. Goldbloom.


~Vanessa, Humans of Depression Representative

Remember to follow Humans of Depression on the following platforms and support #LetsTalkD:





  1. All About Self Help (2013). Major depressive disorder. Retrieved from


  1. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2012). Depression. Retrieved from



  1. Patten, S. et. al (2009). Canadian network for mood and anxiety treatments (CANMAT)

clinical guidelines for the management of major depressive disorder in adults. I.

classification, burden and principles of management. Journal of Affective Disorders,

117(Suppl. 1). S44–53. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2009.06.039

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada (2011). Chapter 3 Mood disorders. Retrieved from


  1. Public Health Agency of Canada (2011). The chief public health officer’s report on the state of

public health in Canada, 2011: chapter 3 the health and well-being of Canadian youth and

young adults. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cphorsphc-



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