Stabilizing Mood

Of all psychologically related conditions experienced by Bowdoin students, depression—whether occasional, mild, persistent, or severe—is easily the most prevalent.

Its effects can penetrate to the heart of a student's life, subtly or profoundly, diminishing his or her ability to function academically and socially, while also eroding self-confidence and motivation. Depression also possesses an insidious ability to conceal itself behind an acrid smokescreen of guilt and self-blame.

Yet, despite its debilitating manifestations, depression can also be understood as a self-corrective measure engineered by the psyche... a definitive "call from the soul" which suggests (or demands) the need for realigning, rebalancing, or redirecting an individual's vital energies toward a trajectory of renewed meaning and purpose.

In any event, a useful first step in dealing with depression (one's own or that of a friend, partner, or relative) is to take the time to understand what it is, what it does, and how it can be treated. The following overview by Bowdoin psychologist Bernie Hershberger and subsequently listed internet links are intended to provide this kind of information. We have also included a link to the Goldberg Depression Inventory (provided below), a self-assessment device that can be completed and scored on the web in a few minutes. If the results of this instrument or any information provided through this page leads you to suspect that depression may be an issue for you, we strongly suggest setting up an appointment for further consultation with any of the experienced counselors available at the Counseling Service at Bowdoin College. See the sections Your Basic Q & A and Services for Students in this web site for detailed information about our services and the scheduling of appointments.