Understanding Depression & Suicide Health Talk

Member

Yih Chin Lim


Duration

July 1, 2017

Target

All Citizen


Target population

25


Target avg age

30


People impacted

20


Root cause

There is growing evidence that depression is in part an illness with a biological basis. It is more common in individuals with close relatives who have been depressed. Research on the physiology of the nervous system suggests that the level of activity of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and serotonin, changes in longstanding depression: Antidepressant medicines probably work by correcting a "chemical imbalance" of this kind. One type of imbalance is associated with bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression), characterized by dramatic mood swings from depression to irritability or euphoria and other symptoms. A number of physical illnesses can also lead to depression: An examination by a medical clinician may be helpful to rule out medical causes of depressive symptoms. While depression does appear to have biological components, it is certain that psychological and social factors also play a vital role. The loss of a loved one or a disappointment may trigger a depression; past losses, perhaps not fully acknowledged, often make someone more vulnerable to depression. For complex reasons, some individuals find themselves enmeshed in negative ways of thinking, which can contribute to depression. Other environmental components are a lack of social support and the absence of avenues for fulfillment.


Sustainable Development Goal

Good Health and Well-Being


Development stage

Health and Wellness


Purpose

Understanding and dealing with depression – for young people.


Overview

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people are currently living with depression. It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in every corner of the world. Depression is a global health crisis, and yet it's still shrouded in shame and secrecy. Talking about depression is the first and most important step in combatting the stigma surrounding the illness — not only the societal stigma, but the stigma that we internalize, the one that tells us to ignore or dismiss our pain. Overcoming this stigma saves lives. It saved some of people. Thanks for the great Depression Talk by Dr David.


Actions Taken

1
A local doctor or mental health professional can work with you and guide you through the recovery process. Getting help early can also make a big difference when dealing with depression so it’s a good idea to seek help sooner rather than later. The good news is that most young people experiencing depression respond well to treatment. While some days may not be as good as others, with support you can get back to enjoying daily life.

Results

Friends and family may provide all the support that is needed in mild cases of depression. Having someone who is willing to listen and ask concerned questions can make all the difference. However, even the most caring and involved friends or family members may not be enough when depression is more severe. In such cases, it is important to seek professional help.

Mental health professionals who may be consulted include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and masters-level therapists. Some may first seek help from a general physician or religious counselor. Each type of professional has their own perspective and expertise, and practitioners of all kinds have experience dealing with depression. The important thing is to seek professional help when symptoms are severe and/or longstanding. In factl, it is wise to seek help even when symptoms are not severe to help prevent depression from getting worse.

Some moderate and most severe depressions respond to antidepressant medications. These are prescribed by a physician, generally a psychiatrist, after a thorough evaluation. A positive effect is usually felt within a few weeks. Some types of mood disorders require specific medications; for example, people with bipolar disorder often do well on lithium. Taking medicine does not preclude other forms of treatment. Individual psychotherapy, alone or in combination with medicine, is often beneficial. Insight-oriented psychotherapy aims to raise insight and awareness of unconscious conflicts, drives, and problems in the hope that increased understanding will lead to more freedom to deal with issues and a better sense of self. Other therapies take a cognitive and/or behavioral approach and attempt to change unhelpful ways of thinking or address isolation by helping the person develop interpersonal skills. Group therapy has been shown to be effective in addressing depressive symptoms and raising insights about the self and relationships to others.

Therapists may help individuals make changes in difficult life situations. With the individual's permission, they can set up meetings with friends or parents to explore ways of resolving a crisis. Depressed individuals who are at high risk of killing themselves may need to be in a hospital temporarily. While this may seem like a drastic measure, it can be life-saving, and it may allow the person to get the treatment and support that they need.


Recommendations

Avoid minimizing the person's pain or making comments like "Everything's fine" or "Your life is good—you have no reason to feel suicidal!" Try saying something like "I can see how hopeless you feel, but I believe things can get better" or "I hear you; I want to help." Advice should be simple and practical; for example, "Let's go for a walk and talk more" or "I am here for you, but you need more professional advice; let's look up some numbers together."

Change can be slow. Trying to help someone who is depressed and is not responding to your attempts can be frustrating and anxiety provoking. It's important to take care of yourself and get support, too. If you don't take care of yourself, you may burn out, feel angry, or give up on the person. It is a good idea to seek help and support well before you reach this point.

If a person is expressing that they have suicidal thoughts or you see signs of possible suicidality, it's important to take it seriously. Sometimes, a suicidal person may ask you to keep their situation a secret. It can be tempting to promise to keep this secret and/or to take on the burden of supporting them all on your own; however, these are not good ideas. Consider the possible consequences of failing to get the person professional help.

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