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.Published on Monday, March 6th, 2017, under Uncategorised