National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
This checklist is taken out of the book: Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback's
Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss by Eric Hipple, former NFL Quarterback for
the Detroit Lions (2008).
This is the checklist he found at U of Michigan Depression Center, and wished that he had
this checklist of symptoms of depression for himself in high school and that he knew the signs so that he could have
seen them in his own son, Jeff. Jeff died by suicide at the age of 15. Looking back, Eric realizes that Jeff had been
suffering silently with depression. Eric tells us that although it is too late to save his son, his hope is that he saves
other lives by educating them about depression.
Nine-Symptom Checklist for Depression:
For each statement below, insert a number score:
0=never/not at all
than half the days
3=Nearly every day
Over the past 2 weeks, how often have you experienced or been bothered
by any of the following:
1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
2. Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
3. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
4. Feeling tired or having little energy
appetite or overeating
6. Feeling bad about yourself, feeling that you are a failure, or feeling that you have let
yourself or a loved one down
7. Trouble concentrating on things such as reading or watching television
or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed, or being so fidgety or restless that you move around a lot more
9. Thinking that you would be better off dead or that you want to hurt yourself in some way
you scored 1 or more for any of the above statements so far, how difficult have these problems made if for you to do your
work, take care of things at home or perform at school?
0= Not difficult at all
1= Somewhat difficult
Interpreting Scores: How to know if you may need help:
If your score is 4 or less: May be experiencing tough times but may not need professional
5-14 Should consider speaking with a professional, your doctor, a counselor at school or work, therapist,
or other mental health specialist.
15 or more: May be experiencing clinical depression and likely would benefit
from a thorough check up and possibly antidepressant medication and
therapy. (U of Michigan's brief diagnostic
questionnaire on depression).
If you need help, don't
panic. However you should seek help immediately. Don't wait. Your doctor may want to rule out any potential physical causes
for how you are feeling. If those are ruled out, then ask for the number of a mental health specialist who specializes in
Remember DEPRESSION is TREATABLE. It is an illness and you do no longer have to feel awful all the time.
A variety of treatments really do work and you can feel better. You can feel like yourself again. There is hope for a brighter
Depression and Possible Suicide Risk:
about dying: any mention of dying, disappearing, or hurting oneself
Recent Loss: through death, divorce, separation,
broken relationship, loss of job, loss of money, status, self confidence, self esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of
interest in friends, hobbies, or previously enjoyed activities
Change in Personality: sadness, withdrawal, irritability,
anxiety, tiredness, indecisiveness, apathy
Change in Behavior: inability to concentrate on school work, work,
Change in Sleep Patterns: insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares, inability
to stay asleep
Change in eating habits: loss of appetite and weight or overeating
Fear of Losing Control:
fear of going crazy, harming oneself or others
Low Self Esteem: feelings of worthlessness, shame, overwhelming
guilt, self hatred. Thinking "everyone would be better off without me".
No Hope for The Future: belief
that things will never get better, that nothing will ever change.
Other symptoms: suicidal impulses, statements
or plans, giving away favorite things, previous suicide attempts, substance abuse, making out wills, agitation, hyperactivity,
restlessness or lethargy.
Remember: The risk of suicide may be greatest as the depression lifts, because the
sufferer regains enough energy to act on self destructive thoughts.
Get Help Immediately
The National Institute of Mental Health offers the following
resources if you are thinking about suicide. Bottom line: Get help immediately.
* Call your doctor
* Call 911 for emergency services
* Go to the emergency room
of the nearest hospital
* Ask a family member or friend to call your doctor or take you to the hospital
the toll-free, 24 hour hot-line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to
a trained counselor at the suicide crisis center nearest you.