Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and it’s timely to talk; even briefly; about depression, its signs and symptoms, and learn it’s actually OK to talk about it.
According to Kate Carnell CEO of BeyondBlue “In Australia more people die every year from suicide than as a result of road accidents, and on average every week around 44 people take their lives, 33 of them are men.
We know that untreated depression is a major risk factor for suicide, yet over half of the people who have depression don’t seek help for it. … that’s why it’s so important that everyone knows the signs and symptoms of depression”
What is Depression?
(following is an excerpt from BeyondBlue’s “A guide to what works for depression” booklet)
While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason.
Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness that has an impact on both physical and mental health.
Depression affects how people feel about themselves. They may lose interest in work, hobbies and doing things they normally enjoy. They may lack energy, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual. Some people feel irritable and some find it hard to concentrate. Depression makes life more difficult to manage from day to day.
A person may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, he or she has felt sad, down or miserable most of the time or has lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and has also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.
It’s important to note that everyone experiences some of these symptoms from time to time and it may not necessarily mean a person is depressed. Equally, not every person who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.
- not going out anymore
- not getting things done at work/school
- withdrawing from close family and friends
- relying on alcohol and sedatives
- not doing usual enjoyable activities
- unable to concentrate
- lacking in confidence
- ‘I’m a failure.’
- ‘Its my fault.’
- ‘Nothing good ever happens to me.’
- ‘I’m worthless.’
- ‘Life’s not worth living.’
- ‘People would be better off without me.’
- tired all the time
- sick and run down
- headaches and muscle pains
- churning gut
- sleep problems
- loss or change of appetite
- significant weight loss or gain
So please take some time to connect with your friends & family, especially those who may be having a tough time, live with suicidal thoughts, have attempted suicide in the past or who have lost a loved one by suicide. Let them know you care and are there if they ever need support.