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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

When all else fails!


All is not lost. There are still things to do. The effect of stress along with depression a symptom of stress is a major health problem the world over. When it seem like nothing works, that is the time to invest in the significant changes necessary to accomplish the specific stress management goals.

The two biggest significant changes we can make are to:

Learn about the Burn Out Cycle in the next chapter. There are predictable and specific things you can do to change the cycle and pattern of stressful response. Don't risk burning out. Know the alternatives, and then....

Seek Professional Intervention. When stress has demonstrated itself, as unmanageable, professional help is most likely essential. Students need to confide in their parents or other caring adult who can help them to find the help they need. More and more teens are suffering from depression (Time, 2002) and require medical or psychological attention. There is significant evidence that the detrimental effects of stress cost time, productivity, money, and lives. Suicide continues as a major cause of death among young people. It is estimated that each year about 3 million teenagers in the United States contemplate suicide. One third of those ages 12 to 17 had actually tried suicide, and only about 1 in 3 had received professional help. In rare instances it is necessary to seek professional assistance in managing stressful situations. Professional counselors, physicians, spiritual leaders, and guidance counselors are good places to seek assistance for problems that are more than we can handle.

It is important that each of us become aware of the signs of depression listed below and recognize them in ourselves and others. In this way we can seek out professional advice.

Signs of depression

  • Depressed mood most of the day
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Significant changes in body weight or appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Increased or decreased activity
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Attempt or plan to commit suicide

(DSM IV; 1994)

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