Supporting each other to tackle depression
This week is Depression Awareness Week (18 – 24 April). Organised by Depression Alliance, this year it has a particular focus on being open about depression to tackle mental health stigma.
The Trust offers a variety of services to people looking for help and support; whether they are experiencing difficulties themselves, or are concerned about a friend, colleague or family member. Some of the support options available include:
Let’s Talk – Wellbeing, which provides a range of talking therapies for people experiencing common difficulties such as feeling low, anxious or stressed. Services are available across Nottingham, Derby, Leicestershire and Rutland, and more recently, Leicester City. This service accepts self-referral or referrals through GPs; for more details visit www.nottinghamshirehealthcare.nhs.uk/letstalkwellbeing
Nottingham Recovery College and Nottingham Primary Health and Wellbeing Recovery College offer courses and resources to help people get back in control of their life, developing skills and confidence, coping techniques and increasing awareness and understanding of health and wellbeing and the impact of long term conditions. The colleges are based at Duncan Macmillan House, Mapperley. Contact 0115 956 0827 or visit www.nottinghamshirehealthcare.nhs.uk/recovery-colleges for a copy of the prospectus.
Ruth Hawkins, Chief Executive, Nottinghamshire Healthcare said: “We want to break down the stigma attached to conditions such as depression, encourage people to talk about it and get help and support. It is really important to take time to look after yourself and others. If you know of someone who may be suffering, take the time to drop in on them or give them a call to talk or just listen. The support of friends and colleagues is really helpful for people experiencing mental illness, so please make the effort to stay in touch.”
Symptoms of depression vary. As a general rule, if you have experienced four or more of these symptoms, for most of the day nearly every day, for over two weeks, then you should seek help.
o Tiredness and loss of energy
o Persistent sadness
o Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
o Difficulty concentrating
o Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
o Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
o Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
o Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual
o Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
o Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
o Loss of appetite
o Loss of sex drive and/ or sexual problems
o Physical aches and pains
o Thinking about suicide and death
If you find yourself unwell or are worried about someone else please see your GP, contact NHS 111 or The Samaritans on 116 123 (UK).
Here are a few tips which can help if you or a family member are struggling:
- Connect with people - Talk to friends, family and colleagues about your anxieties with someone else, a friend, relative or a group such as the Samaritans. Talking about the things that are worrying you can make a big difference.
- Avoid alcohol - Do not use alcohol as a way to relax or ‘numb the pain’. Drinking excessively is detrimental to your body, but it can disturb sleeping patterns leading to irritability and fatigue. Be aware that alcohol will affect any medication that you are taking.
- Eat regularly and healthily - Everyone deserves a treat but remember to include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet so you feel better, are healthier and have more energy.
- Be active - Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mental and physical health. A small amount of activity is better than none. You do not need to go to the gym, a simple walk or exercising to a DVD will make you feel more energised and boost your mood.
- Relax - Take some time to yourself. Some simple breathing exercises can help or just 10-15 minutes away from everything reading a book, going for a walk or having a bath.