Did you know that, globally, 300 million people live depressed? Let’s discuss mental health. Today, on World Health Day, we want to encourage both awareness and compassion.
World Health Day
World Health Day is a yearly campaign, organized by the World Health Organization. Its aim is to bring awareness to significant health issues around the world, with a different focus each year. This year, the theme is depression. So #LetsTalk with the goal of helping those who suffer from depression get the help they need.
One of the biggest challenges facing our global community is how to best support loved ones, friends and colleagues who struggle with mental Health. Often there is a fear of using the wrong language, saying the wrong thing or making things worse. Providing the best support possible begins with education.
Below are some important facts everyone should know when it comes to depression. Give these a read to inform yourself and those around you. Ideally, this knowledge can empower all of us to continue having important conversations every day.
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What you should know about depression:
- Depression is an illness, and not a character weakness.
- Depression can be treated. Antidepressants are not the answer. What treatment is best and how long the issue lasts depend on the severity of the depression.
- The support of caregivers, friends and family can facilitate recovery. Patience and perseverance is needed, as recovery can take time.
- Stress can make depression worse, so a healthy balanced lifestyle is very important.
What you can do to help someone who suffers:
- Make it clear that you want to help, listen without judgement and offer support.
- Find out more about depression, inform yourself, know signs and triggers.
- Encourage the use of professional help when available. Offer to accompany or provide transportation to appointments.
- If medication is prescribed, encourage your loved one to take it as prescribed. Be patient; it usually takes a few weeks to feel better.
- Help with everyday tasks, and ensure regular eating and sleeping patterns.
- Encourage participation in exercise and social activities.
- Help them focus on the positive, rather than the negative.
- If they are thinking about self-harm, or have already intentionally harmed themselves, do not leave them alone. Seek further help from emergency services or a healthcare professional.
Be patient. Be kind. Show compassion. Even on the most difficult of days. Most importantly, let someone who struggles know that you care, and are there to listen. #LetsTalk.