We all feel down-in-the-dumps or sad sometimes. And we also might feel alone or lonely at times. But there is a difference between having these feelings occasionally and having them often.


Sad feelings may last a few days, but usually we can lift our spirits by doing things we enjoy or spending time with someone we care about. Depression, on the other hand, is a medical condition. It causes continued sadness that affects daily life. But depression is treatable. Your doctor can help you find ways to manage it.

Social Isolation

When you’re cut off from contact with others for long periods, you might become socially isolated. This can lead to loneliness and depression. Most people feel better when they’re part of a community and engaged with others on a regular basis. For instance, make it a point to connect with friends, join a club, volunteer, or use social media sites to share messages and keep up with what others are doing.

Depression and social isolation are two different things, but one can lead to the other. Emotional wellness is key to overall health. When you’re worried or downhearted for long stretches or don’t have regular contact with other people, your whole body suffers. That’s why it’s important to talk with your doctor openly about every thing that’s going on with you, physically, emotionally and mentally. If you have symptoms of depression or social isolation, schedule an appointment
sooner rather than later.

Know the Signs

You may be depressed if you have several of these for more than two weeks:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, tiredness, irritability or restlessness
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Loss of appetite or tendency to overeat
  • Problems sleeping (too little or too much)
  • Trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Repeated thoughts of suicide or death

Living alone is a risk for social isolation. So are situations that keep you at home for long stretches. Examples are:

  • Having a health condition that makes it hard to get around or that requires a lot of rest or recuperation
  • Being a full-time caregiver to a loved one
  • Being unemployed
  • Struggling with grief or depression

Do You Know?

We offer community classes on a regular basis where you can learn about a variety of health topics, including depression, disease prevention and healthy living. Visit www.peopleshealth.com/wellness to find classes in your area.