RSN™ Guide: Depression
What You Need To Know

By the: United States National Institute of Mental HealthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health".

About this Guide

This Guide, was prepared by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), provides an overview on depression. NIMH is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.

This Guide will help you learn the following four things that everyone should know about depression:

  • Depression is a real illness.
  • Depression affects people in different ways.
  • Depression is treatable.
  • If you have depression, you are not alone.

This Guide contains information on the signs and symptoms of depression, treatment and support options, and a listing of additional resources. It is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a guide for making medical decisions. Please review this information and discuss it with your doctor or health care provider. For more information on depression, please visit the NIMH website at www.nimh.nih.gov.