Depression & Bipolar Disorder

Self Help Resources  Depression & Bipolar Disorder

For someone to talk to when feeling depressed and/or suicidal, please call 1-800-273-TALK. All calls are private and confidential. This is a national suicide hotline and is toll free and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To speak with a CAPS therapist, simply call 826-3236: we have a therapist available by phone 24/7.


What is Depression?

Let this animation with a dog shed light on it.


Signs and Symptoms of Depression (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

  • A Sad, Anxious, or Empty Mood That Lasts For Two Weeks or More
  • Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Most Activities You Once Enjoyed
  • Feelings of Worthlessness, Hopeless or Guilt
  • Significant Change in Weight or Appetite
  • Changes in Sleep Habit
  • Fatigue, Loss of Energy, Feeling Slowed Down
  • Agitation, Restlessness, Irritability
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Thoughts of Death or Suicide; Suicide Attempts
  • Difficulty Concentrating, Remembering and Making Decisions
  • Physical Symptoms - Headaches, Digestive Disorders, and Chronic Pain - That Don't Respond To Medical Treatment
  • Having Difficulties with Alcohol, Other Drugs, Tobacco or Food
  • Practicing Unsafe Sex or Other Forms of Sex with Regrets
  • Driving Recklessly
  • Vandalizing Property or Stealing

What You Can Do

Assume a "Coping" Attitude

Even though we are not able to change all the things we would like to in our lives, we still have control over how we cope with adversity. When we take on a coping attitude we are recognizing that we almost always have choices available to us, even if that choice is to do nothing.

Practice Assertion

Assertion can most simply be defined as truly being oneself. Part of being a unique, assertive person involves learning to identify one's feelings and thoughts. This should result in a confident expression of oneself and a greater understanding on the part of others.

Talk To a Friend

Try to be open with others by sharing your thoughts and feelings. Isolation often increases depression while activity and social support frequently decrease it.

Use a Self Rescue List

Create a list of things you can do which might help you feel better when you're depressed or overwhelmed. Think of things which have worked for you in the past. Some suggestions might be to go out for a soda with a trusted friend, engage in a sporting activity, nurture yourself with a warm bath or cup of tea.

Set Life Goals

College is a time when one often wonders "where am I going with my life?". When these questions come up it can help to create a list of life goals for oneself. This list should be updated as your interests and values change. It can also be helpful to visualize what your life would be like if you fulfilled the various goals.

Laugh and Play

Set aside time for spontaneous, unstructured activities. This can be done alone or with others and can involve things which you have never done before.

Get Into a Healthful Routine

Eat nutritious meals and get enough sleep and exercise regularly

Go To Classes and/Or Work

Restart a Hobby Or Try Something New

Read Up On Coping with Depression

Get Help If You Need It

It may be that you have tried all of these things at one time or another with little or no success. Don't give up! It might be time for you to seek professional help which you are likely to benefit from. It's always harder to do it alone, especially when one feels alone to begin with. We owe it to ourselves to get help!

Call Counseling & Psychological Services (707) 826-3236 for more ideas and support

Internet Resources

For Depression

Aetna InteliHealth

Informational web page about clinical depression and African Americans.

Campus Blues

Information about challenges and issues faced by college students.

Go Ask Alice

Interactive web-site from the Columbia University Health Services. Includes lively answers to questions commonly asked by college students in many areas, including general health, sexuality, fitness and nutrition, drugs and alcohol, relationships, and emotional well-being.

Mental Help is an organization providing information about depression, diagnoses, and treatment.

National Institute of Mental Health

Informational web page provides information about university students, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide.

Psychology Information Online

Information about depression: diagnoses and treatment.

Student Counseling Virtual Pamphlet Collection

The Unabridged Student Counseling Virtual Pamphlet Collection

The Depression Center

The Depression Center is a useful website with information on depression treatment, depression tests, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and how to utilize a depression diary.


An interactive web site with mental health-related information as well as an interactive self-assessment device for students with concerns about their emotional/psychological well-being.

For Bipolar Disorder

Facing Bipolar Video Series

This 10 part series of YouTube videos on Bipolar Disorder is very helpful in presenting an overview of the disorder, tips for coping and making healthy choices, information on medications and natural supplements and how to find a therapist or psychiatrist, etc.

Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation educates families, professionals, and the public about pediatric bipolar disorder; connects families with resources and support; advocates for and empowers affected families; and supports research on pediatric bipolar disorder and its cure.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the nation’s leading patient-directed organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses; depression and bipolar disorder.

Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association

DRADA is a community organization; we serve individuals affected by a depressive illness, family members, health care professionals and the general public.

International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression

iFred is an organization dedicated to researching causes of depression, to support those dealing with depression, and to combat the stigma associated with depression.

Mental Health America

Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives.

National Institute of Mental Health

Informational web page provides information about bipolar disorder.

National Mental Health Information Center

The National Mental Health Information Center was developed for users of mental health services and their families, the general public, policy makers, providers, and the media.

Offers 300 pages on complex mood and anxiety problems, including a lot of information about mood swing and Bipolar II.

A website containing information on bipolar disorder and other depressive disorders. 


Basco, Monica Ramirez. The Bipolar Workbook: Tools for Controlling Your Mood Swings. The Guilford Press; 2005.

Behrman A. Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania. Random House; 2003. "An emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression."

Berger D, Berger L. We Heard the Angels of Madness: One Family's Struggle with Manic Depression. Harper Publications; 1992. "The mother and sister of a manic-depressive [18 year old] related the facts about the illness and describe how their family coped."

Burns, David. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Harper; Reprint Edition; 2012. Highly recommended self-help book for those struggling with depression.

Burns, David. The Feeling Good Handbook. Plume; Revised edition; 1999.

Carter R. Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends and Caregivers. Harmony; 2011.

Copeland, Mary and McKay, Matthew. The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic Depression. New Harbinger Publications Inc; Second Edition, 2002.

Copeland ME. Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Peach Press; 5th edition; 2011. The focus of this book is on learning tools for recovery from mental illness and preventing relapse.

Court Brian L. and Nelson, Gerald E. Bipolar Puzzle Solution: A Mental Health Client's Perspective. Taylor & Francis; 2013.

Fawcett J, Golden B. New Hope for People with Bipolar Disorder Revised 2nd Edition: Your Friendly, Authoritative Guide to the Latest in Traditional and Complementary Solutions. Harmony, 2nd, Revised edition; 2010.

Goodwin FK, Jamison KR. Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press; 2nd edition; 2007.

Greenberger, Dennis and Padesky, Christine. Mind over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think. Guilford Press; 1995.

Jamison KR. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (Vintage). Random House; 2009.

Jamison KR. Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide (Vintage). Vintage Books; 2011.

Jamison KR. Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. Free Press; Reissue edition; 1996.

Karp DA. The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope with Mental Illness. Oxford University Press; 2002.

McKay, Matthew et al. The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (New harbinger Self-Help Workbook). New Harbinger Publications; 6th edition; 2008. Highly recommended.

McKay, Matthew et al. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation and Distress Tolerance. New Harbinger Publications; 2007.

Miklowitz, David J. The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What you and your family need to know. Guilford Press; 2nd edition; 2010

Mondimore FM. Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families. Johns Hopkins University Press; 2nd edition; 2006.

Simon, Lizzie. Detour: My Bipolar Trip in 4-D. Atria Books; 2002. A memoir of life with bipolar disorder.

Solomon A. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. Scribner; 1st Touchstone edition; 2011. Soloman shares his own struggle of depression while sharing what he has learned...

Torrey, Fuller and Knable, Michael. Surviving Manic Depression: A Manual on Bipolar Disorder for Patients, Families, and Providers. Basic Books; Reprint edition; 2009.

Williams, Mark. The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. The Guilford Press; 2012.


Self Help Resources  Depression & Bipolar Disorder