The Road Ahead : February March 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2012 18 Understanding depression More than one million Australians are currently living with depression, but it's an illness that is often misunderstood. ONE IN FIVE women and one in eight men experience depression at some stage of their lives, but it's still a condition that carries social stigma for sufferers. More than just a 'low mood', depression is a serious illness which affects how sufferers feel about themselves and their lives. Due to the stigma that still surrounds depression, many people continue to suffer in silence and are reluctant to reach out to get the help they need. The 2009-2010 beyondblue Depression Monitor survey found that 81 percent of respondents agreed that people with depression 'feel that they are letting their family down' and 82 percent agreed that people with depression would be 'afraid to tell anyone else about it'. beyondblue is actively working to destigmatise and raise awareness about depression and other mental health issues and was a driving force behind the Stigma Summit held in Brisbane late last year. Dr Nicole Highet, deputy CEO of beyondblue, said that the past decade had seen great progress in depression awareness, but there was still ground to be made. "There is still a long way to go before people feel comfortable in talking about a mental health problem in the same way they talk about a physical health problem like diabetes or a broken leg," Dr Highet said. "Stigma has a significant and negative affect on people. It often stops them from asking for help and getting appropriate treatment." DID YOU KNOW? A person may be depressed if he or she has felt sad, down or miserable most of the time for more than two weeks. Other common signs include: • Increased irritability and moodiness. • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities. • Trouble sleeping. For more information, visit www.beyondblue. org.au or call 1300 22 4636. For urgent assistance, call Lifeline on 13 1114 or Mensline on 1300 789 978. LIFESTYLE WELLBEING STORY BELINDA PETERS ... depression is a serious illness which affects how sufferers feel about themselves and their lives.
April May 2012