Exploring ways to help people with depression

By Melvin Bui

The Los Angeles Community College District created a safe place for constituents to share their personal experiences with depression and other mental issues. They hosted a mental health workshop to introduce ways to identify and support people with mental health issues.
Symptoms and Treatments of Depression, the mental workshop happened this Monday, as a part of Undocumented Student Action Week. It aimed to highlight the different types of depression, how to identify depression and how to get treatment.
The workshop was led by Guadalupe Nolasco from the Los Angeles County Mental Health Department. There was a mutual agreement between the host and participants to not share peoples personal experiences from the discussion. So the overall tone of the discussion was serious and personal.
The main topic of the discussion was anxiety and depression. Depression is a low state of mood with reactions of sadness and emptiness for two weeks, or more accompanied by lack of energy and loss of interest in living. It can have an affect on how people functions in their everyday life. Four of the most prevalent types of depressive disorders: dysthymia, bipolar disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder and postpartum depression.
People with dysthymia have been depressed for at least two years; their symptoms are less severe. However they struggle to maintain relationships with others. People with bipolar disorder alternate between periods of depression and mania. Symptoms of mania include reduced sleep, rapid thoughts, change in behavior and speaking fast. SAD is depression that comes from season change, it begins in fall or winter when sunlight is decreased. The lack of sunlight causes people to become depressed.
Postpartum depression takes place after a woman gives birth and the chemical imbalance in her body causes her to have depression. Some women face a double burden.They work all day, come home to clean, cook dinner and care for their children. So, it is inevitable for these women to feel a sense of hopelessness and depression.
The four potential causes of depression: genetic factors, a chemical imbalance in the brain, drastic life changes and certain medicines. The effects of depression vary between individuals, so nobody will feel the exact same range of emotions. Nolasco said that it is important to get professional treatment for all types of depression.
Things people can do to help cope with their depression are eating healthy, getting a full night of sleep, exercising or playing sports and seeking support from others. People can support others with depression by listening without judgement, being understanding, being empathetic and avoiding criticism.
Undocumented Student Action Week is a campaign hosted by the California Community Colleges that advocates for the undocumented student population throughout the whole state. It aims to be in solidarity with undocumented students by having a week full of events that provides information on critical topics and entertainment for instance, financial aid assistance, help filling out the California Dream Act, panel discussions on immigration policies and a virtual dance party. This is the fourth consecutive year of having Undocumented Student Action Week celebrated in the CCC. The workshop was an hour long and had 27 participants.
Undocumented Student Action Week has over 20 events going throughout the week that is open for all LACCD students and faculty to join. Some of the events will be open to high schoolers and other California Community Colleges. For more information on other Undocumented Student Action Week events that are happening this week, refer to the DRC website: https://bit.ly/3721eF5.
Nolasco shared some services that are available for people are seeing help for mental health issues or discrimination issues.
The Los Angeles County Health Department has a 24/7 hour hotline that is available for people that are going through a mental health crisis. For more information contact (800)-854-7771.
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill is a grassroot organization that supports people with mental health issues. It was established in the late 1970s and provides mental health services for people in the surrounding area. For more information contact (310)-889-7200.
Mental Health America of Los Angeles is an organization that opposes discrimination and racism of all forms. It provides housing services, mental health services, health services and employment opportunities for people in the Los Angeles County area. For more information contact (888)-242-2522.

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