It is normal to feel down every now and again. That’s life. However, if a low mood continues for an extended period, or if you are overwhelmed with emptiness & despair that won’t go away, it could be depression.
No matter how hopeless things may seem, the first step to recovery is to understand the problem. This step alone can be the first in a journey back to well-being.
KNOW THE SIGNS
Signs & Symptoms of Depression
Depression varies from person to person but there are some common signs & symptoms to look out for. It is important to recognise these and to seek help. The more symptoms and the longer they’ve lasted, the more likely it is to be depression. Do any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar to you?
- Low or sad mood
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Change in Appetite or weight changes
- Changes in Sleep patterns
- Feeling irritable or restless
- Lack of energy
- Feeling worthless or excessively guilty
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Poor concentration
- Feeling life is not worth living, thoughts of suicide – Seek help immediately if this is the case
Depression & Suicide
Thoughts of death or suicide are a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behaviour seriously – it’s not only a warning sign that a person is thinking about Suicide, it’s a very serious call for Help.
Depression is a major risk factor for Suicide. For the person suffering the deep despair & hopelessness of a depression, Suicide may feel like the only way to escape the pain. Sufferers often feel loved ones would be better off without them but we know, of course, that this is not the case. Suicide has a devastating effect on families and loved ones left behind.
KNOW THE WORDS
How to approach someone you are concerned about
Make the person aware of your concerns by saying that you’ve noticed the above changes in their behaviour and that you are worried about them.
- Talk but listen too
- Don’t just talk about mental health
- Don’t judge, second guess or try to diagnose
- Promise discretion but not secrecy
- Ask if they are suicidal
- I can support you if you need me, even if it’s just to go to the shop or for a walk.
- You’re not alone. Loads of people struggle, which means there’s loads of help out there.
- This must be really tough to deal with everyday. Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?
- Have you had thoughts of suicide?
KNOW YOUR SUPPORTS: Where to go for HELP
Talk to your GP or health professional
If you feel you may be suffering from Depression, talk to your GP or your health professional. It can be difficult to take that first step but pick up the phone and make that appointment because working with your GP is key to recovery. Often, simply talking to your GP or health professional can help; they may advise you on lifestyle changes or may prescribe medication or other therapies.
Follow Advice & Treatment Programme
Taking that first step to see your GP can sometimes be so hard that we expect immediate results. However, therapies such as medication can take some time to take effect (up to 6 weeks). Counselling & other therapies can also take time, so it’s unrealistic to expect instant results but it is important to remember that the positive effects of treatment will come and will be worth it.
Changes in Lifestyle
Whatever your treatment programme, some simple changes to lifestyle can have a beneficial effect on mood:
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
- Avoid Alcohol & Drugs
- Get Active
- Get enough Sleep
Access Support Services
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Keep helpline numbers handy. Consider attending an Aware support group. Talking through your concerns with someone who understands can be very reassuring and can help in learning new coping skills. It’s good to know you are not alone, that other people have felt the same but have got through.
3Ts Video on Depression:
To Learn more watch 3Ts T-Time video on Depression in collaboration with JamesMitchellTV
3Ts Self Help Booklet on Depression is free to download here and contains valuable information for anyone concerned about depression, introducing self help techniques & coping strategies which can be used to take the first steps to recovery as well as sign-posting to professional help. The booklet is a valuable resource for anyone who is feeling low or concerned they may be depressed and for anyone concerned for another.
Aware: Specialist Depression Helpline
If you would like a handy 3Steps Wallet Card with tips and pointers on Know the Signs, Know the Words, Know your Supports, message us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pop one in the post to you.