Regarding mental health awareness month, one of the many mental health disorders is depression. According to National Institute of Mental Health, "Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks." (https://www.nimh.nih.gov) Whereas, sadness is a normal emotion we as humans have and we have all experienced at some point in our life. Also unlike with depression sadness happens when we usually feel sad about something. Another aspect about sadness that differs from depression is that when our sadness over that something fades, specifically the emotional pain, our sadness goes away. Furthermore, by such confusion between the two, it causes many to tell those with depression that they can easily snap out of it or that they need to decide for themselves to be happy. In which case this only harms those with depression because it makes the person with depression only feel much worse.
Now as to how one can distinct one from the other is important, because according to Guy Winch from Psychology Today, it can lead us to "neglect a serious condition that requires treatment (depression) or, on the other end of the spectrum, overreact to a normative emotional state (sadness).” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression) Thus, by knowing the symptoms of depression and the severity of depression, it can help one to better decipher if he or she is depressed or sad.