News & Events
World Health Day 2017: Let’s talk about depression
The focus this World Health Day (7th April 2016) is depression. Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental pain and suffering, and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks. Sometimes depression has devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living.
At worst depression can lead to suicide – now the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year olds.
Yet depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition. This will lead to more people seeking help.
The risk of becoming depressed is increased by:
- stressful life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up;
- an emergency situation or disaster;
- physical illness such as a stroke or heart attack; and
- problems caused by alcohol and drug use.
Depression can be effectively treated, and people will usually recover from it. The earlier effective treatment is started, the better the chance of recovery.
How to tell if you or your family member needs help
It can sometimes be hard to tell how much emotional pain someone close to you is in and whether they need help – it can be equally as hard recognising in it yourself! Often it’s something small that can make you think something isn’t quite right – you might see it in yourself or in someone else, or someone could see it in you.
You might want to get extra support if you or someone you know:
- doesn’t want to see their friends or no longer enjoys spending time with their friends and family
- stops doing things they used to love or don’t seem to be enjoying themselves
- can’t remember things, concentrate, or pay attention
- feels bad about themselves – guilty, worthless or ashamed
- has a big change in eating patterns or appetite
- has extreme mood swings
- feels hopeless or really sad, or cry a lot
- feels anxious, stressed, nervous or scared a lot and can’t seem to relax
- is not happy unless they’re using drugs or alcohol
- doesn’t take care of their appearance or personal hygiene
- have physical signs of injury or that they are hurting themselves
- has panic attacks – rapid heartbeat, unable to breathe, feeling dizzy and extremely scared or anxious all at once.
Getting help if you are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed
- a friend or family member;
- your doctor;
- your local mental health service;
- a local support group;
- Depression Helpline (0800 111 757);
- Lifeline (0800 LifeLine or 0800 543 354); and
- Youthline (0800 376 633).
If it’s a crisis or emergency situation, contact your local mental health crisis team on the Psychiatric Emergency Line (0800 920 092).
Other things you can do to help if you are feeling depressed include:
- Keeping up with activities that you used to enjoy when you felt better.
- Staying connected with family and friends.
- Exercising regularly, even if it’s a short walk
- Sticking to regular eating and sleeping habits
- Adjusting your expectations about what you can accomplish
- Avoiding or restricting your alcohol or recreational drug intake – as they can worsen your situation.
Sources: World Health Organisation, Ministry of Health and Mental Health Foundation websites.
Check the skin you’re in during Melanoma Awareness Month
March is Melanoma Awareness month and Melanoma New Zealand would like to invite you to raise awareness of this terrible disease that affects over 4000 Kiwis every year.
New Zealand has one the highest melanoma incidence rates in the world. Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in NZ, with over 300 New Zealanders dying of melanoma every year – that’s more than the road toll!
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer you can get. It can progress quickly and can be life-threatening. Melanoma is treatable if diagnosed early but if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body then the prospects of survival are poor.
Early melanoma may not have any noticeable symptoms but melanomas usually appear as a changed or new mole.
If you notice anything new, changing or different on your skin, get it checked by a doctor. It could save your life!
How to prevent getting melanoma
Most melanomas are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight, so avoid getting sunburnt whatever your age by;
- wearing a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and clothing, and seeking shade where possible.
- using sunscreen on skin that is not covered by clothing.
Protection is especially important between 10am and 4pm during daylight saving months – this when UV radiation is highest.
Using sunbeds and/or sunlamps increase the risk of melanoma. Using these treatments before the age of 35 is associated with a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma.
People from ethnic groups with darker skin (like Māori, Pacific and Asian peoples) have more protection against UV rays and so are less likely to get skin cancers, including melanoma.
Visit the Melanoma NZ website for more information or call them free on 0800 4 Melanoma (0800 463 526).