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New Research on Depression in the Workplace.

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Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's

MHM Volume5 Issue5

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depression speaking book

Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted.  We depend on written communication for information, guidance, and access to heath care information That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way information is delivered to low literacy communities. It's exactly what it sounds like.a book that talks to the reader in his or her local  language, delivering critical information in an interactive, and educational way.

The customizable 16-page book, accompanied by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood..

We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 30 titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 30 countries.

suicide speaking book

The dreaded lurgi. The grey lizard. The blues. The “los my uit” mood. Or, plain “down in the dumps.” There are many ways to describe depression and as many ways to treat it. The stress of living in the fast lane; career burnout, the cost of living, daily traffic jams and relationship pressures are likely triggers for depression in adults. But the rising suicide figures among children and teens proves that the burden of depression is visited on all.

“South African youth are in crisis” says Zane Wilson, Founder of SADAG, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, at the launch of Teen Suicide Prevention week, 21 – 27 February. “Children as young as ten are committing suicide. For most teens, a short depression is a passing mood. Bouts of sadness, loneliness, grief and disappointments are normal reactions to life’s struggles. But undiagnosed depression can lead to tragedy. To a teenage girl of 15, who has been constantly abused by her stepfather, a boy who has lost his elder brother to gang violence or a child of 12 whose mother has recently died of AIDS, it might seem less painful to end it all. Sometimes they feel there is nothing to look forward to.”

Suicide records show that up to one third of all suicide victims have made previous suicide attempts, with subsequent attempts becoming more violent. South Africa’s fatal suicide rate is higher than the global ratio reported by the World Health Organisation and consistent with global trends indicating a shift from the elderly to younger people.

Last year the Sunday Times reported that up to 15 teenagers attempt suicide every week. It was this fact that caused South African celebrities to reach out. Colin Moss adopted SADAG’s teen suicide prevention programme “Suicide Shouldn’t be a Secret” as a favoured charity for his pro bono work. He was one of the celebrities auctioned on the bid or buy website last year in aid of the SADAG programme and featured in the SADAG celebrity cookbook “Good Mood Food” released in December last year.

“South Africa’s youth need to recognise their potential and believe in themselves” said Moss, explaining why he jumped at the chance to be a part of the teen suicide prevention programme. "Their toll free line 0800 567 567 really is a life saver in all sense of the word.

“I was lucky in that I learned about the importance of dreams, vision and personal goals at a young age” said Colin. “I know there are hundreds of young people living in difficult circumstances who can’t imagine life getting better. To them I would like to say; if you have nothing else, you have youth - and time. You have a personal road to travel. Nobody can rob you of that. Nobody can rob you of your dreams. No matter how bad things might be, nothing is so bad that you have to die for it.

“Life is a wonderful gift. We need to make the most out of every moment. With determination and passion you can achieve anything. If I can play a small part in helping young people to realise that, I will be happy.”

Moss says bouts of depression are common among celebrities, however.

“From all outward appearances, celebrities live a charmed life. But they are under tremendous pressure; not only from the need to maintain high levels of performance and appearance but also from being constantly in the public eye.

Colin Moss and friends share their secrets in coping with depression:

Colin Moss – Television and movie star and well known local celebrity

Be proactive
I usually want to be on my own when I’m feeling depressed, but I have learned that it’s important to be proactive. Firstly you have to work out why you are depressed and find ways to address it. Sometimes it’s because I am exhausted – the best remedy for that is to pamper myself, order in food and relax with a good video. Or my depression could be from disappointment. Auditions are tough and we don’t always get the roles we wanted. My remedy for that is a bit of self indulgence – doing things that make me feel good about myself.

Laugh alot
Laughing is one of the best antidotes to depression. When I’m down, I often take myself off to see a funny movie or go to a comedy club. Sometimes I have to do stand-up comedy when I’m not feeling up to it. But, even when I’m not feeling funny, it helps when I make others laugh.

Exercise the steam off
If my depression is due to frustration or anger, I find exercise helps. Then I go for a run, a training session or a long, lone walk up the mountain.

Get back to nature
There’s nothing more healing than communing with nature. A long walk in a beautiful place or a picnic on the banks of a river or a lake or a weekend in a tent far away from the city, the phone and the noise.

Love yourself
“The first rule in feeling better is to love yourself. The second is to be kind to yourself. The third is to forgive yourself. The most important one is to know that your creator only made one of you and that you are important.”

Fezile Mpela – Actor and television star - SA’s Presenter Ready, Steady, Cook. Previously on 7de Laan and Generations and currently in SABC1 Mzansi

I love cooking
I make an excellent curry. With my mutton curry, the fork breaks the meat for you, it’s that tender. Cooking is creative and gives one an instant sense of achievement.

Don’t let anybody stand in your way.
Believe in your talents and pursue them. I didn’t let anything stand in the way of my passion. I had to drop out of Technikon because of my family situation, but I believed in myself and my ability enough to get others to buy into my personal dreams! I am living proof that it is possible to achieve your dreams, no matter how difficult it seems at the outset.

Do things you love
I am an adventure freak. I love speed. I suppose I am an adrenaline junkie. It makes me feel great.

Challenge yourself
Learn something new. Challenge yourself to succeed. Get involved! I am learning the piano and loving it. Somebody told me I am too old to learn to play the piano. I love a challenge. If you say I can’t do something, I will prove you wrong.

Nicky Greenwall – Producer and Presenter of ETV’s The Showbiz Report , Artist, Columnist, Celebrity MC.

Talk to someone!
“I'm a big talker! I like to talk things out. When I'm sad and angry and feeling less than myself I phone someone who cares about me and rant. Often by relaying my feelings I end up laughing at how silly I sound. Laughing is a huge stress reliever for me. If I don't feel like rehashing my own problems I get a friend to tell me theirs. It sometimes helps to put your own hardships into perspective by focusing on someone else’s.

Remind yourself about your talents!
I get down when I think too much. When I have too much time to mull over how confusing and difficult life can be sometimes. I find it helps to keep myself busy and do something that I know I'm good at. I'm quite a good painter - so when I feel a bit useless I paint and I feel talented again.

Running, walking and stretching also usually helps lift my spirits especially when I can do it somewhere really beautiful.

Get Help!
I hate to admit it - but when I feel super-down-in-the-dumps, I like to read self help books. For the most part they can be hugely boring and preachy - but they do help you feel less alone and make you feel that you are actually doing something practical to improve your situation rather than allowing it to fester. I used to suffer incredibly from anxiety - in fact I still do. These books were my saving grace and helped get me through a very difficult time in my life.

Write it Down!
The biggest thing I learnt from self help books is that they all tell you to "write it down". If you write down how you feel you get it out of your head and in a space you can deal with it. It’s almost as though you're helping someone else with their problems.

Chantal Rutter – TV News Anchor, journalist, lecturer, Post Traumatic Stress Counsellor.

Create personal comfort.
When I am down I wander around in my pyjamas - the fleece-lined ones with pink dogs on. They make me feel cosy and pampered.

Music has great healing properties. Ancient healers used music and it has found a place in healing programmes again. When I am down, I listen to Leonard Cohen.

Videos and comfort food.
I watch soppy movies, and eat piles of chips with a garlic and cream cheese dip!

Cooking helps.
I make a mean lasagne with loads of cheese sauce, very tomatoey, with mince and fresh, home-grown herbs; I add lots of fresh spinach as an extra layer; topped with heaps of grated cheese. This, served with a good red wine, and followed by a hazelnut parfait with rich chocolate sauce, makes for a very well-rounded, satisfying and happy making meal.

Then I go to bed and count my blessings and wake up in a better mood the next day.


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