The simple facts
- Untreated depression is reported to be the first cause of suicide worldwide.
- Depression is treatable - so suicide is preventable
The overwhelming percentage
of people who suffer depression do not commit suicide. But, having depression really does increase someone's risk of
"Everybody contemplates suicide, and when we are
depressed we contemplate it very seriously indeed
for it seems to offer a way out of the prison of
According to the Australian Government: Everyone will be affected by depression (their own, or someone
elses) at some point in their lives. But, what is it? What is depression?
One definition describes depression as being a feeling of persistant sadness, which also involves
feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It goes beyond 'mood' and includes feelings of physical illness and the inability
to think properly. Depression is a very common human condition and has long been identified as being the main
cause of suicide. But this is extremely rare, and as such should not be a source of undue worry for anyone suffering mild
depression. So please do not worry.
Depression: A global condition.
We are reliably informed that
countless millions of people worldwide are suffering from various forms and degrees of depression without ever
suspecting that they are depressed.
The conviction that the primary cause of suicide is untreated depression means that
these countless millions are struggling through life without their condition ever being recognised or diagnosed. Which means
that the total number of sufferers is unknown and probably unknowable.
The belief that depression is on the increase is really quite alarming. Depression is
not a character flaw - anyone can become depressed. Some people are simply more prone to depression than others. For
some people the experience is far more painful than for others; and some have developed better coping strategies than others.
Depression really does come in many different shapes and sizes. The difference between one person and
another is largely a question of degree. For the majority of people, depression goes largely undetected and untreated and
is often dismissed as being 'just one of those things'. But for countless
millions of others worldwide, depression is acute and can (and all too frequently does) lead to suicide.
Depression is not restricted to any particular gender or age group. At present over 40.000 children in the UK
have diagnosed depression and the World Health Organization forecasts that MAJOR depression will become the second
most debilitating disease by the year 2020 - second only to heart disease.
This is doubly worrying as there is a growing mountain of research evidence showing that in certain
cases, certain heart conditions may have been caused by depression .
However, the global inrease in depression will inevitably result in one truth - suicide rates will soar in proportion
- and our species will still look the other way.
Be that as it may - whilst depression is classed as the main cause of suicide - suicide is not the only
solution to depression. There are a wealth of options available to us. For example; millions of people (worldwide)
swear by the benefits of counselling.
Counselling is widely used for dealing with depression, relationship problems, stress, anxiety, panic attacks,
low self esteem, eating problems, sexual problems, bereavement and loss, accident and loss, accident trauma, abuse trauma,
assault trauma, rape etc.I think it is only fair to point out that counselling will not work for everyone. If counselling
doesn't work for you, that's ok. There's plenty of other options available for us. So please don't worry.
For details of how to locate local counsellors and psychotherapists
please contact the appropriate professional bodies listed below.
According to the South African DepNet website; 20% of people who suffer recurring depression end up taking
their own lives. Whilst the risk of committing suicide is 15 - 20 times greater amongst people with recurring depressions.
However, DepNet goes on to reassure that there is lots you can do to prevent yourself from getting recurring depression.
Self-Quiz for Depression
people have benefited from self-coaching or other forms of self-help. Could these approaches benefit hold the key to your
you notice that your functioning is deteriorating. Your thoughts are growing darker and overwhelm you. Professional advice
really needs to be sought as soon as possible. If on the other hand, you are still able to keep-your-head-above-water and
cope with life then it could possibly be that some form of self-help programme may be a realistic alternative to pharmaceutical
following self-help quiz was devised from the viewpoint of assessing whether or not you might be suffering a clinical depression. For which you are strongly advised to seek professional assistance .You are simply
required to view the following list and confirm any symptoms which you’ve experienced for more than two weeks. If you
are unsure about this, journaling is highly recommended to give you the required clarity. See DASI TOOLBOX at the foot of
- I am experiencing feelings of depression. I feel sad and or irritated for a large
part of the day. Most days.
- I am no longer interested in things which used to give me pleasure.
- My appetite has changed resulting in a change of weight.
- I am sleeping too much – or too little.
- I feel fatigued or drained for most of the time.
- I feel worthless or experience intense feelings of guilt for most of the time.
- I can’t concentrate like I used to and find it hard to make decisions.
- I feel restless, agitated or slowed down physically.
- I often experience feelings and thoughts of suicide.
you are experiencing four or fewer of the above symptoms, you could well be going through a mild depression. Having said that,
there are low-grade depressive conditions which can last for years. These are
characterized by chronic feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Another of the milder conditions involve sufferers feeling
‘up’ one day and down the next. This being so, even a mild depression needs to be addressed as a priority.
HOW TO HELP
books: Many books are now on the market giving practical advice for sufferers and will help you understand the nature of the
condition and its possible causes.
Depression frequently brings tension and anxiety which can be a real handicap. Methods of relaxation using exercises, audio
tapes, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, massage, etc. can be very effective in allaying anxiety and tension.
Many people who are depressed become exhausted and totally lacking in motivation. Despite this, some form of exercise, however
gentle, will often have beneficial results, and if some exercise can be taken in the fresh air, this can add to the benefit.
change in lifestyle: A lot of people who have depression have been found to be perfectionists and drive themselves much too
hard in most things they do. Our own impossible standards need to be lowered slightly and our ‘workload’ reduced
in order that life can be lived at a slower pace. This change does not make us lesser people but puts us in command of our
life rather than being at the mercy of the ‘rat race’.
Under or over eating is a symptom of depression and it can be so easy to eat junk food. It is very important to try to have
a well-balanced diet which prevents us from feeling tired and run down as a result of a bad diet.
‘props’: Props, such as smoking, illicit drugs and dependence on alcohol are damaging. Alcohol in particular is
a depressant and despite giving a temporary lift can definitely worsen depression.
occupied: It can be of great help if the mind can be occupied by an interest or satisfying hobby, or by reading a book
or watching a TV programme or film. While concentration can be difficult in depression, it is possible to train yourself to
increase the amount of time you spend concentrating on something, simply by practise.
or short breaks: If these are possible they usually bring some relief by breaking up the routine where we can so easily get
in a rut. Even an hour’s break every now and then can help.
Dealing with DEPRESSION.
Great news from a land down under
Moodgym is an interactive program designed to help you: identify whether you are having
problems such as anxiety and depression; and to overcome these problems, by developing good coping skills for the future.
Moodgym is based upon two programs which are successful in preventing and treating
depression and anxiety: These are cognitive behaviour therapy and interpersonal therapy.
CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE MOODGYM
Support forums play a vital role in providing people with contacts, support, information, coping
strategies etc. The following website specialises in Depression Forums...
CLICK HERE TO ENTER DEPRESSION FORUMS
At the end of the day, it
is only one aspect of depression which is the real killer, and that is the sense of hopelessness.