Campus life can be overwhelming, and it′s very common for college students to become depressed. Depression is a powerful feeling of hopelessness, gloom, and sadness that afflicts millions of people. It′s more than just a "gloomy mood," but rather a persistent funk that you can′t control and that disrupts your ability to function in your everyday life.

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects about 121 million people worldwide. While many people suffer from chronic depression, others suffer from bouts of depression during difficult times in their lives.

What should college students know about depression?

First of all, if you are feeling depressed, seek help. There′s no reason to suffer when help is available. Contact your campus counseling center and set up an appointment as soon as possible. Campus health centers are staffed with people who work with students all day, and they are very well versed in the kinds of problems and concerns that students typically face.

If you are feeling suicidal or think you might do harm to yourself, seek help immediately. Either go directly to the campus counseling center, call their emergency hotline, or call emergency services. If you live in a dorm, tell a residence hall assistant what′s going on and he or she will help you. If someone around you is suicidal, you should get them help immediately as well.

You should never feel ashamed about being depressed. Often, depression is caused at least in part by a chemical imbalance or a genetic predisposition to depression. But even if your depression doesn′t have one of these more physical causes, you have nothing to be ashamed about. Depression is a very common human experience and is not a sign of weakness.