Let’s talk about mental health: depression

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, but it’s important that we talk about mental health all year round.

All week we will be discussing mental health.

This year’s theme, working together to prevent suicide, is spreading the message that you are not alone and help is always available. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) more than 300 million people around the world live with depression.

Depression is often described as a low mood which is long-lasting and comes with feelings of anxiety, helplessness, negativity and hopelessness. It can happen to anyone at any age and there is often not one identifiable cause – it is an illness that doesn’t discriminate.

Less than half of people experiencing depression receive treatment.

Stigma

One of the main factors contributing to this is the social stigma that surrounds discussions on mental health. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and when something is wrong: always talk to others and seek help.

Credit @mentalhealth on Twitter

Recognising depression

It can be difficult to admit that you need help, but being able to recognise the symptoms of depression is important.

You may be tired, irritable, have trouble sleeping or a host of other symptoms. Stress, low-self esteem and social media can all contribute to feelings of depression.

Treatment

Small changes everyday can help improve the symptoms of depression. The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) allows you to evaluate your feelings over a two week period and calculate your good mental health score. Whether your score is high or low that’s ok and there is no ‘normal’ to aim for.

You will have the option to be sent a good mental health package via email with helpful tips and advice on how to cope with everyday life.

Counselling – talking to a professional about your feelings and experiences to determine a cause and treatment strategy – and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – identifying behaviours and thoughts that cause problems and how to change them – are both common courses of treatment for depression.

Medication can be used to treat depression, but this is normally only used when other treatments do not work. Anti-depressants should always be prescribed by your GP and vary depending on the severity and type of depression.

Support

There is always help available and no problem is too small. If you are feeling depressed reach out to a friend or family member who you trust. Your first port of call for professional help should always be your GP, they will give advice and refer you on to the right service.

There is a number of helplines and resources available from mental health charities:

Samaritans

Helpline: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org

Mind

Helpline: 0300 123 3393
Text: 86463

SupportLine

Helpline: 01708 765200
Email: info@supportline.org.uk

ChildLine

Helpline: 0800 11 11
1-2-1 counsellor chat 

NHS Choices 

Mental Health Foundation 

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