75.2% of ASU students felt very sad at some time during the school year.

As with any emotion, periods of sadness are normal and most people feel better within a few days.

American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment: Arizona State University Spring 2009. Baltimore: American College Health Association; 2009 (n=2,238).


If you have been feeling sad for a long time, or your sadness makes it difficult to function, you may be experiencing depression. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Down, flat or empty mood that lasts more than two weeks.
  • Decrease or loss of motivation.
  • Unusual irritability or excessive worrying.
  • Significant changes in weight.
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  • Feeling hopeless or very pessimistic about the future.
  • Low self-esteem; feelings of worthlessness, guilt and/or self-blame.
  • Withdrawal from friends, family or other relationships.
  • Suicidal thoughts, wishing to be dead or to "disappear."

Contributors to depression

While depression is often not "caused" by life events, behavior can impact how much depression affects us. Some things that can make depression worse:

  • Drug or alcohol use.
  • Disconnecting from others or isolating yourself.
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity.
  • Poor diet, eating too little or too much.
  • Criticizing or berating yourself for how you feel.
  • Refusing to acknowledge feelings, "intellectualizing."

Concerned about a friend?

Talk to your friend and encourage them to seek professional help.

  • Express your concerns in a private conversation.
  • Let them know that you care about them.
  • Ask them to share what they are feeling.
  • Ask open-ended questions such as "how long have you been feeling this way?"
  • Be curious and nonjudgmental.
  • Recommend they speak with a mental health professional.
  • Provide information about mental health resources.

Good self-care for body and mind

Maintain overall physical and mental wellness and reduce feelings of stress and depression with:

  • Adequate sleep.
  • A balanced diet.
  • Regular physical activity.
  • Daily rest and relaxation.
  • Close personal relationships.
  • Strong connections to family and community support.
  • Communication, problem solving and conflict resolution skills.

Depression and suicide prevention links

Resources for Depression and Suicide Prevention
Get Involved with Stress, Depression and Suicide Prevention
Stress, Depression and Suicide Prevention Presentations

A program of the Living Well Network designed to raise awareness and educate the ASU community about stress, depression and suicide prevention, Campus Care is funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information on Stress, Depression and Suicide prevention, please contact david.bower@asu.edu