Depression Help

Depression Help

Failure to Tackle Depression Comes from Lack Of Political Resolve

posted by tereziafarkas
Photo by David Levene.

Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Photo by David Levene.

“The failure to tackle depression undermines the fundamental human rights of millions and millions of people. This begins with the denial of even the most basic levels of treatment and support.” ~ Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, speaking at the Global Depression Summit in London, England.

Kofi Annan’s speech made me want to stand up and cheer. Realistic about how depression affects us all, Kofi Annan gives three solutions for helping individuals and families affected by depression. I strongly urge you to read the entire speech at http://t.co/cZodDDh8iA  It’s not long and will hit home for anyone suffering with depression. Here’s a few highlights. (I’ve selected a few main ideas from Mr. Kofi Annan’s speech)

Mr. Kofi Annan:

“From long experience, I know how expert gatherings like this can be catalysts for the development of innovative solutions and partnerships. And, as this audience understands, there are few issues where such fresh thinking and energy is more needed than the global priority and resources given to depression. 

The truth is, of course, it is not lack of medical knowledge that is at the heart of the world’s collective failure to tackle depression. Our difficulties rest more on a lack of political resolve.

There has been a failure to acknowledge the scale of the problem and to put in place the policies and resources to overcome it.

This begins, of course, with the denial of even the most basic levels of the treatment and support.

Even in richer, more developed countries, help for those with depression can lag badly behind those suffering from many physical conditions.

But lack of treatment and support is not the only denial of rights that those with depression suffer.

Too often and in too many societies, those with mental health problems face discrimination and isolation. So we have to tackle the lack of resources and trained providers which prevent effective and universal care.

But we also have to deal with social stigma and lack of community understanding associated with mental disorders.

This is all the more shocking given that depression can affect all of us.

But there is a more positive side to the picture. 

As I have said, we know more than ever about the condition. 

Diagnostic criteria and screening mechanisms are now well-established.

There are an increasing number of simple, effective psychological and pharmaceutical interventions.

Economic analysis has also indicated that treating depression in primary care is feasible, affordable and cost-effective. 

We also have a great deal more understanding of the prevention strategies which can help avert depression before it takes root. 

The challenge is to find the global vision and leadership to maximize the benefits for individuals, families, communities and countries.

As a first step, I note that WHO member states have already approved the 2013-2020 mental health action plan. This calls for a 20% increase in treatment for mental health including depression by 2020.

Second, we need to find ways to widen the numbers of patients receiving treatment for depression.

Third, the MDGs and success of initiatives to tackle infectious diseases has shown the immense value of building innovative partnerships across sectors and countries.

None of us have a monopoly of wisdom.

Throughout my career, I have found that the more people, organizations and sectors we can involve in finding solutions and increasing resources, the greater and faster the results will be.

We need the widest possible partnerships and collective resources to overcome this challenge.                        

Increasingly, we have the knowledge about depression to make a difference.

We now need to find the will and resources to use this knowledge to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Thank you.”

Black Friday: Stress and Chaos

posted by tereziafarkas

blackfriday

Christmas holiday season making you feel stressed or anxious? Then be kind to yourself and avoid shopping on Black Friday! It’s a frenzied mob of highly charged, emotionally stressed buyers who will do things they normally wouldn’t. People pepper spray each other. Workers and shoppers get crushed or trampled by the horde. Do you really need to be part of such chaos?

Black Friday stress isn’t helped by owners keeping doors locked right until opening time, being short on staff, or having limited stocks. The way Black Friday operates also feeds mob psychology. Personal responsibility is gone once the crowd starts shopping. Everyone’s doing it, so why can’t you? The more people in a crowd, the less responsibility you feel as an individual. Someone else will help that guy who was punched. You adopt the emotions and behavior of the crowd. A person starts running to a bin, everyone follows. People are anxious, stressed, and angry. You don’t have to be an empath for these emotions to sink in or make your own anxieties and anger explode through the roof.

Deliberately putting yourself into a stressful situation only increases anxiety and depression. You might feel like you have to buy something to feel happy or loved. Grabbing that door buster special or picking up that limited item can be a great reward. But it’s a momentary happiness, something that won’t increase or decrease how you generally feel about your life or how much people love you.

Merchandise has a short lifespan when it comes to making a person happy. Think of the kid who plays with his toys for one week and then lets them sit in the corner for months. Realize that what gives you joy now probably won’t give the same level of happiness later.

How can you avoid stress on Black Friday? The easiest thing is not shop.

If you can’t maintain the self-control needed to not shop, then ask friends or family for help. This means tough love from people who care about you. They can refuse to take you to sales or arrange to go with you to another event that has nothing to do with shopping. Throwing out flyers, changing the channel during ads, or even talking about what you want to buy can make you realize you don’t necessarily need it. If family and friends know you have your heart set on a certain special item, options might include buying it another day or for another occasion like your birthday. Everyone might pitch in to buy it on regular price.

Focus on what matters. Happy memories bring joy years after the events, even into old age. You’ll probably forget that gift you bought on Black Friday because in the long-term, it won’t matter. Realize too that what is trending right now might not be cool or current in a few months, especially when it comes to tech.

Avoid Black Friday shopping and you avoid adding one more stressor to your life. It’s that simple.

Depression Summit for a Global Crisis

posted by tereziafarkas

#depressionsummit
I have really great news to share with you, my dear readers and followers. Something made possible by you.

I’ve been invited to attend the Global Crisis of Depression Summit offered by the Economist at Kings Place in London on November 25, 2014. It’s an invitation-only event with notable speakers like Kofi A Annan, former Secretary General U.N., Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, and Alastair Campbell, former press secretary for British PM Tony Blair. I’ve been asked to attend because of my dedication to raising awareness of depression. A dedication that’s been spurred along by you, my readers!

You’ve approached me with personal stories of depression and your daily struggles with it – the stigma, the fear of telling someone or going for help. You shared touching memories of loved ones who choose suicide. You educated me about the after-effects of a suicide and what those left behind need most. You taught me a new way of talking about suicide and brought awareness of mood disorders like SPTSD. Thank you!

At the heart of the Depression Summit is you, a person with lived experience. Without your experience and input, the summit would be an academic exercise between researchers, drug companies and politicians. So the one-day forum is taking a multi-faceted approach to depression. It brings together policymakers, healthcare providers, the pharmaceutical industry, academia, employers and patient groups for a day of debate and discussion. It’s a chance to express opinions both moderate and extreme from all sides, hear about innovations and research, blend ideas, and hopefully get everyone on the same page.

The summit won’t stop at the individual level. There’ll be discussion about the different approaches nations can take when it comes to dealing with depression. We know, for example, that Canada is behind the UK when it comes to including people with lived experience on research teams. Hopefully a more unified world approach will come out of the meeting.

I like that #depressionsummit includes people with lived experience. It gives people like me a chance to tell researchers, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies what works and what’s a miss when it comes to depression. Often people with lived experience are left out of discussions for reasons that really don’t make sense. That’s another reason why this Depression Summit is awesome. It’s inclusive of everyone!

Join the conversation: @tereziafarkas @EconomistEvents #depressionsummit

http://www.economistinsights.com/healthcare/event/global-crisis-depression

 

Terezia Farkas, International Bestselling Author and 'Depression Help' columnist.

Terezia Farkas, International Bestselling Author and ‘Depression Help’ columnist.

Annan_Kofi-web

Kofi A Annan, 7th Secretary General of the UN. Founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sue Baker, Director Time to Change. England's largest program to end depression stigma and discrimination.

Sue Baker, Director Time to Change. England’s largest program to end depression stigma and discrimination.

Alistair Campbell, former Press Secretary for British PM Tony Blair.

Alistair Campbell, former Press Secretary for British PM Tony Blair.

6 Ways To Cope With Elderly Depression

posted by tereziafarkas

old1

 

In my previous post Old and Depressed: The Not So Golden Years, I talked about the five main causes of elderly depression. Getting old doesn’t mean you have to be depressed. Old age doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of proper treatment. I’ve witnessed with my 70+ old uncle how proper treatment of depression can bring a person back to life, so to speak. Treatment can take time and it requires love and support from family and caregivers. So what can be done to alleviate or prevent elderly depression?

  1. A good geriatric doctor. Geriatric doctors are trained to deal with illnesses and impairments that are specific to older people. A geriatric doctor has many diagnostic tools such as the Geriatric Depression Scale to identify depression from normal parts of aging. They are also trained to deal with chronic pain and dementia which bring on depression. Unfortunately finding a geriatric doctor who accepts new patients can be tough. There’s few of these specialized doctors at a time when most of the US population is hitting old age.
  2. Maintaining Good Physical Health. Some of the physical risk factors for depression can be overcome by keeping your body fit. Physical exercise decreases depression because of endorphins released into the bloodstream. It also keeps muscles toned and fit. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous at this age. It can range from simple stretching or bowling to taking walks or swimming. Keeping in good physical health can be hampered by disease or permanent disabilities so be kind to yourself if you’re not able to exercise regularly.
  3. Medications. Ironically, while medications can cause depression they also reduce or control depression. Antidepressants are recommended for severe depression. These take longer to work in older adults and results might not be seen for 6 to 8 weeks. Remember that medication works a bit differently on everyone and there might be side effects. Monitor antidepressant dosage and make sure they aren’t causing paranoia, anxiety or other unwanted effects.
  4. Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy for an elderly person works as good as for the younger crowd. Psychotherapy helps deal with grief and the loss of independence, health, home and lifestyle. Older adult psychotherapy has to respect personal limitations such as poor eyesight and hearing, physical discomfort and any physical illness.
  5. Mental stimulation. Social activities keep you young at heart. You enjoy life more when you’re with people you can connect with through shared life experiences. Hanging out in the food court with friends, walking in the mall, playing bingo or bridge – such activities fight isolation and depression. Even doing crosswords or playing computer games stimulates parts of the brain that make you feel good.
  6. Lifestyle changes. Reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol not only makes you feel better, it also cuts down the number of medications you need to take. Eat properly and on schedule. Cut down or stop smoking. This one can be really difficult, as I know from my uncle. He’s tried quitting lots of times but can’t. Part of it is cigarettes make him feel good. Instead of being refused cigarettes, he’s allowed to smoke. As a caregiver you have to realize that what you consider a ‘bad’ lifestyle choice might be the only thing still bringing joy to your loved one.

old4

Previous Posts

Failure to Tackle Depression Comes from Lack Of Political Resolve
“The failure to tackle depression undermines the fundamental human rights of millions and millions of people. This begins with the denial of even the most basic lev

posted 6:32:28pm Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Black Friday: Stress and Chaos
Christmas holiday season making you feel stressed or anxious? Then be kind to yourself and avoid shopping on Black Friday! It’s a frenzied mob of highly charged, emotionally stressed buyers who will do things they normally wouldn’t. People pepper spray each other. Workers and shoppers get crushe

posted 6:35:18pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Depression Summit for a Global Crisis
#depressionsummit I have really great news to share with you, my dear readers and followers. Something made possible by you. I’ve been invited to attend the Global Crisis of Depression Summit offered by the Economist at Kings Place in London on November 25, 2014. It’s an invitation-only even

posted 8:23:21pm Nov. 19, 2014 | read full post »

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  In my previous post Old and Depressed: The Not So Golden Years, I talked about the five main causes of elderly depression. Getting old doesn’t mean you have to be depressed. Old age doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of proper treatment. I’ve witnessed with my 70+ old uncle how proper

posted 8:34:08pm Nov. 14, 2014 | read full post »

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