Things I Learnt from my Online Depression Course

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So, I did it! Alongside commuting to London every day, I spent 7 weeks at the end of last year taking an online course about depression through Coursera lets you take university modules for free in LOADS (and I really mean LOADS) of different subjects. Mine was from the US, but you can also study from Russian, Chinese, German…all kinds of universities.

Why did I decide to do this? I have a number of people in my life who suffer with depression. Having depression sucks, but also having a loved one with depression sucks (arguably) just as much, so in an effort to help, I decided to learn a little more. If I can train to be a depression counsellor, that would be great. But that’s both very time consuming and also very expensive so that’s not on my horizon just yet.

I learnt so much on the course, and it was really full-on, especially alongside a full-time job. But these are the things that really stood out in my mind as I studied:


Depression and Diabetes are Linked

There is a strong link between depression and diabetes, with each one potentially causing the other.

“The women on antidepressant medications had a 25% higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those without depression.” Source 

There isn’t enough known at this point into how they affect each other, but this is just one more sad item to add to the list of dangers when a person falls into depression (others being loss/gain in weight, stomach issues, suicide and many more).


A Good Lifestyle Can Help

There are some things that can really help fight depression – two of which are a healthy diet and lots of walking. Fitness in general is good for someone suffering with depression, but walks can help clear the mind of clutter, fighting the depression demons.


Different Cultures see Depression Differently

One of the most interesting things I learnt was how different people view depression.

There was a study of African cultures wherein they monitored people with depression. So, they went to all these different groups of people and said “can you show us a few people who have depression?” And the people said “oh depression! You mean tummy aches!” and then some other people said “depression? Oh, person-weakness!” and “ah! Sleepless disease!” They didn’t see depression as the same thing that we see it as – as something that makes you very sad, but as something with different symptoms. Which makes sense, as depression is such a multi-faceted disease.

This is a very long study that looks into all kinds of things like this.


The biggest Cause of Depression is…


If something really crap happened in your life – a death, stress, a breakup, whatever – who would you talk with? If you have someone in mind that you know you could go talk to and they would listen then you are good. If you could not think of someone who you would go to talk to, then you are at risk.

Friends are important, we all know that. But making sure you have someone to speak with regularly about things, and especially someone to turn to when things are a bit crap is vital to your mental wellbeing.

What can you do if you don’t have a close friend? I know as well as anyone that making friends is bloody hard work, but it’s worth it in the end. Go out there, join, go out and find people you like and work to build friendships. If you have people around you that you like but aren’t that close to, then invite them out, or even invite them round. Cook them a meal. Go see a film. I’m absolutely serious because people having close friends is the single most important thing in fighting depression.


So that’s the end of my rant (haha…)

I can highly recommend the course and can’t wait to learn something else on Coursera. If you could study one thing, what would you study?



  1. And I learned that there is such a thing as an online depression course.

    I like the shiny new blog design, by the way 🙂
    bevchen recently posted…Raspberry chocolate dessert potsMy Profile

  2. My cousin is in psychology and works with depressed teens, so I have always heard a lot about depression and other mental illnesses. I’ve had a few friends also suffer from depression and it’s SO important to always let them know that they can talk to you without feeling like you are judging them!

    I feel like I should take some classes on different business programs like SAP and what not, but the subject just doesn’t really grab my attention…though it would look smashing on my resume. Also loving the new blog design! So classy and simple! 🙂
    Jess recently posted…Guess who is back?!My Profile

  3. Oooh I like the new blog design! Very clean and modern and cool! It’s great that you took this coarse to learn more about Depression. It definitely sucks when you know someone who’s going through it.
    Sara Strauss recently posted…Watch | Read | Listen {February 2015}My Profile

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