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Recognizing depression after a job loss and how to cope

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  • Written By: Felicia Messimer
Recognizing depression after a job loss and how to cope

Gillette, and Wyoming, has had its fair share of economic downturns. With the two announcements on Thursday from Black Thunder and North Antelope Rochelle mines we learned that 465 Powder River Basin coal miners had been laid off. For many, losing a job can be an extremely traumatic experience, often leading many to despair and depression. And, in extreme cases, distress from losing a job can lead to suicide.

For those who have been affected by the recent layoffs at the mines in Campbell County, we have a message for you: Breathe. Make a plan. And know that it does get better.

We want everyone in our community to watch for signs of depression in any loved ones, friends or neighbors who may have recently lost their jobs. Signs of depression include:

  • feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, worthlessness, self-hate, or guilt
  • loss of interest or withdrawal from activities or hobbies such as sports, hobbies, or going out with friends and family
  • a lack of energy, fatigue or always feeling too tired to do anything
  • irritability or misplaced anger
  • an increase in risky behavior, drinking alcohol, or substance abuse
  • a lack of interest in having sex
  • emotional ups and downs including outbursts of anger, uncontrollable crying, or even small bursts of happiness
  • changes in appetite and corresponding weight gain or loss
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  • suicidal thoughts or behaviors - for some information on the warning signs and risk factors of suicide, please visit

If you, or someone you love, have shown some of the signs above for more than two weeks, you / they might be suffering from a major depressive disorder. According to Healthline, there are some no-cost or low-cost ways to help cope with depression, including:

  • Establish a daily routine to help you feel like you are in control of your life. Get up in the morning, get dressed and make a plan for the day. Keep your mind busy with tasks that need to be done for your job hunt, or just tasks that need to be done around your house.
  • Set reasonable goals to motivate you. These could include filing for unemployment, updating your resume, applying for a set amount of jobs each day, creating a profile on Wyoming at Work, or meeting with former colleagues for coffee to network.
  • Stay active. This will help reduce stress and help keep you healthy. Go for a run or walk outside, take a hike in the hills or mountains, do some strength training at home, or take the kids to the park and play with them.

If these ways of coping are not working for you, please speak with a doctor or a licensed mental health provider. A sliding fee scale is available at CCH Behavioral Health Services (BHS). Learn more about the services BHS provides at

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide call 911 NOW. If you need someone to talk with about your suicidal feelings, please do not hesitate to talk to someone who can help at the numbers below:

  • CCH Behavioral Health Services Crisis Line at 307-688-5050
  • Text "WYO" to 741-741
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255
  • Category: Behavioral Health Services, Doctor, Wellness