The 13th May 2019 marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week.
Why do I need to be aware of mental health issues?
In readiness for that week I have summarised some the of the latest facts and figures on an illness that is likely to affect each and every one of us, whether directly, through our own personal experience, or indirectly, through contact with a friend or relative. Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide, with depression being the most common mental health disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.
How do I know if it is depression?
We all have times when our mood is low and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually, these feelings pass in due course. But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression.
As with our everyday feelings of low mood, there will sometimes be an obvious reason for becoming depressed. Sometimes there is not, but we are aware of certain circumstances which can make some people more vulnerable to the condition, such as recent major life events, social circumstances, physical illness, certain personality types, drug and alcohol use and family history.
How common is depression?
Up to 10% of people experience depression in their lifetime. Half of these people will only experience it once, but the other half will go on to experience it again. Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and is estimated to account for one-fifth of days lost from work in Britain.
So if you are experiencing symptoms of depression then the chances are that someone you know has been through a similar experience, to a lesser or greater extent. Some people worry about being labelled as ‘giving in’, but the truth of the matter is that there comes a point where depression behaves like an illness and needs to be managed as such. It can happen to the most determined of people- even powerful personalities can experience deep depression. Winston Churchill called it his ‘black dog’.
Is it all doom and gloom?
The good news is that 4 out of 5 people with depression will get completely better without any help. This does though leave 1 in 5 who do not, and for both groups of people some simple suggestions may significantly shorten a period of depression and empower you to more easily identify and tackle any recurrence of these feelings in the future.
How is it treated?
Most people with depression are treated by their GP. Depending on your symptoms, the severity of the depression and the circumstances, your doctor may suggest self-help, talking treatments or these in combination with medication.
Here at Pinches, we have the benefit of having our GPs and counsellor in one place, hence facilitating regular communication and streamlining of care. We will also soon be offering a variety of groups and workshops which can compliment individual care as well as help to maintain good mental wellbeing.