The importance of recognising depression

‘Depression’ is a word that’s heard a lot, but how much do you know about it’s effect on existing physical illnesses?

Last week, leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband gave a speech on mental illness in which he criticised members of the celebrity media for demeaning people with mental disorders.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have been quoted as saying that depression will be the world’s leading cause of disease by the year 2030. Depression is not simply a mental illness that can be treated with drugs, it is a complex and debilitating issue that can in severe cases leave sufferers with more physical health problems to deal with too.

In health and social care, it is vital that depression is recognised and treated with attention to detail. Bedridden or less mobile patients are at high risk of developing depression due to their home-bound circumstances and reduced social interaction  Patients who have long-term conditions may also be at risk from developing severe depression due to suffering from uncomfortable symptoms and side-effects over a prolonged period of time.

Depression is a serious ailment as it can leave sufferers feeling alone, helpless and unwell and can cause parallel illnesses such as paranoia, insomnia and anxiety amongst others. Recognising the symptoms of depression early can help guide a client to a better state of mind, making treatments for other underlying illnesses more effective.

For more information on depression or any other chronic mental illnesses, visit the mental health charity Mind‘s website: http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/mental_illness

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World Mental Health Day

Wednesday 10th October 2012 was World Mental Health Day and Apex Health + Social Care commemorated the occasion by inviting staff on their training courses to take part in discussions about stigma, mental illness and mental well-being.

Working in the healthcare industry means coming into regular contact with a range of diseases and disabilities which can manifest in patients in a multitude of different ways. World Mental Health Day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services.

This year the theme for the day was “Depression: A Global Crisis” and staff on training were asked to think about a number of situations that involved working with clients who suffered with depression.

Depression is a difficult mental disorder to live with and can be grouped into three severities; mild, moderate and severe. Mild depression can be treated by non-specialist primary healthcare professionals, however moderate and severe depression requires specialised skills to provide therapy treatments alongside medication options.

There may not be an obvious catalyst to begin a sufferer’s depression. Many factors such as upsetting or stressful life events, poor health, a history of mental illness or stress can trigger symptoms, however depression can commonly arise without any noticeable reason or cause.

In vulnerable people with a poor health history, depression needs to be made aware of and monitored due to the adverse effects it can have on recovery times and other health issues. As noted in the above infographic, people with depression are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those without. This sort of knowledge can help healthcare professionals to provide adequate support for clients and patients who they suspect may be suffering.

For more information on depression or World Health Day, visit the World Health Organisation’ s official website.

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