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Skidmore College
Counseling Center


  • Mood changes, including feeling sad, irritable, angry or cranky.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports or social events
  • Lack of enjoyment in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite; loosing or gaining a lot of weight
  • Changes in energy level
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping much more than usual
  • Persistent thoughts of suicide or death
  • Physical symptoms (headaches, digestive problems, aches and pains)

Sadness is a universal feeling. It is normal to feel sad or down in response to stress, disappointment, or failure. These feelings are typically manageable and tend not to significantly interfere in everyday life. Feelings of sadness usually begin to fade after a few days and people start to feel themselves again.

Clinical depression is very different. It includes mood disorders that involve the brain, the mind, and the body in complex ways. Comparing everyday "blues" to depression is like comparing a cold to pneumonia. People with clinical depression have noticeable changes in their everyday functioning that last for two weeks or longer. This may mean it's difficult for them to keep up with their academic or job responsibilities or they may find it extremely effortful to socialize with friends or keep up with self-care. Clinical depression can destroy a person's joy for living and can make food, friends, sex, or any other form of pleasure unappealing.

Signs of Clinical Depression

Physical Symptoms:

  • Changes in appetite (eating more or less) or losing/gaining a lot of weight
  • Having less energy or feeling fatigued
  • Sleep issues—Insomnia, oversleeping, waking up early or in the middle of the night
  • Headaches, digestive problems, or aches and pains

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Lack of enjoyment in activities that used to be enjoyable—loss of interest in hobbies, sports or social events
  • Difficulty focusing, remembering, or making decisions
  • Having difficulty keeping up with self-care or everyday responsibilities

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Sad or 'blah' mood lasting two weeks or longer
  • Frequent crying
  • Feeling irritable, angry, or agitated
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty or worthless
  • Persistent thoughts of suicide or death—click here for more information on suicide and how to get help.

Types of Depression

There are different types of depression including Major Depression, Dysthymia, and Bipolar Disorder.

Major Depression involves a combination of the above symptoms that interferes with your ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy life.

Dysthymia involves long-term, chronic symptoms of depression that are less severe in nature but still negatively affect your functioning.

Bipolar Disorder involves periods of depression that alternate with periods of elation and increased activity, known as mania. Someone in a manic state might talk excessively or have little need for sleep. Their thinking and judgment can be affected and they may engage in impulsive, reckless behaviors that are dangerous or cause problems for them later.

depression ribbon

Getting Help

The good news is that depression can be treated. Most cases are treated successfully with a therapy and medication, as needed. Making behavioral changes, like increasing the amount of exercise you get, can also help lift your mood. Skidmore has resources in place to help students identify and treat depression:

PHQ-9—Staff members in Health Services were trained in the administration of this 9-question depression scale. The PHQ-9 is used routinely when a student makes an appointment at Health Services. This facilitates the screening of all students, regardless of the reason for their visit. Click here to view PHQ-9.

Counseling—Short-term therapy is available through the Counseling Center. Referrals are made for medication or long-term therapy on a case by case basis. To make an appointment, stop by the office on the first floor of Jonsson Tower or call 518-580-5555.

Take a confidential screening for depression