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Depression vs Sadness: When one should seek professional help

Understand the difference between sadness and depression

One World News’s initiative to spread awareness in the wake of World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 continues with the 5th article. We are going to talk about depression and sadness. Our aim is to educate you about the issue up to a point where you can help prevent suicides. In previous articles of the series, we have talked about mental health, which is the biggest reason for suicides. Depression is one part of mental health which causes many suicides in India and across the world. Also, we will try to understand sadness and its relation with depression along with the right time to seek professional help.


Sadness is very normal human behaviour which everyone experiences at some point in their life. People normally experience it at somber or stressful times because of number of life experiences. These include- loss of a job, death of dear ones, absence of a loved one, financial trouble, issues at home, failure in academics, not getting a job, or experiencing other disappointing events.

In normal circumstances, people experiencing sadness find relief after crying, taking out frustration, or venting. Sadness usually passes with time, but if it does not pass or the person is not able to function normally, it could be a sign of depression.

Read more: Understand why people commit suicide with experts


Depression is a mental disorder which can have overpowering effects on many parts of life. There is no age or gender barrier for depression, it can alter attitude and behaviour in any person.

Symptoms for depression are hopelessness, feeling of discouragement, a lack of motivation or loss of interest in activities that a person once found enjoyable.

In severe cases of depression, a person might attempt to suicide. The individual might stop spending time with friends and family and might stop pursuing his/her hobby or feel unable to attend office, school, college and more.

When to seek help?

Despite after so much of discussion and awareness campaign, the question regarding seeking help in the cases of depression remains dim. Various experts believe that a person should meet a professional or doctor if he/she experiences sadness for more than 2 weeks.

Neelam Mishra, Associate Consultant Rehabilitation Psychologist, Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi spoke to us about, when is the right time to seek professional help. She said “When someone is sad and constantly crying, feeling hopelessness, helplessness and lonely, or when the person starts thinking that taking his/her life is the only way to let go off the pain, then the person must visit a doctor/professional to seek help.”

Reaching out for professional help from a therapist, any trusted member or an allergy member can be a powerful step toward recovery.

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