Counseling Services holds Kat Chat to discuss depression with students

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Students gathered in Leasure Hall yesterday for an interactive presentation on recognizing depression presented by the Kansas State Counseling Services.

The presentation was part of the Counseling Services’ weekly “Kat Chats,” a series of events designed to address timely mental health topics for college students throughout the semester. This week’s chat was presented by Paige Humphrey, senior in biology and member of Peer Advocates for Mental Wellness and Success, or PAWS.

Humphrey said she had the idea to present a Kat Chat on depression awareness during her PAWS certification class. Her goal was to educate students about recognizing depression in others because many people don’t understand that depression is not something sufferers can choose to avoid.

The presentation, titled “Connecting the Dots: Recognizing Depression,” included actors and audience participation to identify types of depression and ways to help someone who may be struggling with depression. The actors portrayed a situation in which one student encountered a depressed friend, and the audience coached them on how to properly handle the situation.

Humphrey said depression is the most common health problem among college students and is the fourth most disabling mental illness in the world. Depression looks different between individuals, especially across cultures and genders.

One of the biggest points from the presentation was that depression is not the same as sadness. Sadness may be a symptom of depression, but one cannot simply “snap” out of depression, Humphrey said.

Humphrey said someone with depression may be seeing life through a veil of negativity and pessimism, “except a person with depression thinks the veil has been lifted and they are looking at the truth.”

Humphrey also stressed to the audience that depression is treatable.

“Your problems do matter,” Humphrey said.

Students who are concerned for themselves or a friend should voice their concern and seek help from a trained professional. K-State students receive four free-of-charge therapy sessions through the Counseling Services per fiscal year. After the first four sessions, students can still continue therapy for a small fee.

The next Kat Chat will be at 4 p.m. on Feb. 13 in 13 Leasure Hall. The theme will be “The Language of Love” to commemorate Valentine’s Day. For more information, visit the Counseling Services website or call their office at 785-532-6927.

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