THE SOUTH AFRICAN
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
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New Research on Depression in the Workplace.

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JOURNAL

Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's

MHM September 207x300

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SPEAKING BOOKS

suicide 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.

depression book

To view the larger version - click here [pdf]

dissecting depression1

dissecting depression2

BY VAN ESSA PAPAS Real T life EVERYONE has good days and bad days—but if unhappiness lasts for more than two weeks and starts to interfere with your life it might be something more serious. slo TLwere some of Hollywood's brightest ights yet their lives were secretly plagued by darkness. From former Disney star ee Thompson Young, fashion designer Alexander McQueen, Bollywood actress lah Khan, and reality TV star Gia Allemand, to singer Kurt Cobain, actor Jonathan Brandis, musician Michael Hutchence and now famed and well-loved actor Robin Williams, many superstars have died by their own hand. Earlier this month, 63-year-old Robin was found dead in his home in California. According to police, he hanged himself. His suicide is as bizarre as it is tragic, and even his closest fans were acutely unaware that the actor with the big smile and enduring blue eyes had a long struggle with depression — believed to be the number one trigger of suicide. "Depression is a 'whole-body' illness, involving your body, mood and thoughts," explains Cassey Chambers of The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). "It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things. Depression is not the same as a temporary blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with depression cannot merely 'pull themselves together' and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression." Chambers explains that not everyone who is depressed experiences every 'typical' storm of symptoms. Some people experience a few symptoms, some people experience many. Also, the severity of symptoms varies between individuals. Common symptoms include a persistent sad or 'empty' feeling; loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex; feelings of hopelessness and pessimism; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, and self-reproach; insomnia or hypersomnia; early morning awakening, or oversleeping. Other symptoms include appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain; decreased energy; fatigue and feeling 'run down', increased use of alcohol and drugs (which may be associated, but is not a criteria for diagnosis); difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions; persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain; deterioration of social relationships; frequent thoughts of death or suicide, and suicide attempts. 4MP "Although therapy and anti-depressant medication are the most effective treatments for depression, self care is also important," says Chambers. "There are many things you can do to help yourself during a depressive episode, and to prevent future episodes. Remember, there are not always therapists to help you in your area. Make sure to get up out of bed and dress everyday — even if you are not doing anything. It may sound simple, but it is at least a step in the right direction, as staying in bed all day will make you feel even worse. Get adequate sleep. If you have problems sleeping, go to bed at the same time every night and, more importantly, get up at the same time every morning. Keep your bedroom dark and free of noise, and don't exercise after 17h00. Avoid the use of non-prescription sleeping-pills, or alcohol, because they can make your sleep restless and may react with your depression medication. Try to establish a routine that is easy to follow and not stressful. This will keep you engaged with reality, and help you to cope and get through the days. "Make sure you eat a balanced diet. If you lack an appetite, eat small snacks rather than large meals. Read as much as you can about your illness, so you are fully aware of it, which can help you prevent it taking control of your life. Above all, be patient and kind to yourself. Remember that depression is not your fault, and is not something you can overcome with willpower alone." Chambers says treatment is necessary for depression, just like for any other illness. "Often, depression goes undiagnosed because it's brushed off as someone simply being in a 'bad mood'. Depression is more intense than a bad mood. A bad mood is usually gone in a few days, but clinical depression lasts two weeks or longer. A bad mood does not keep you from going to school or spending time with friends. Depression can keep you from doing these things, and may even make it difficult to get out of bed. Depression is a physical illness, in that it can result from problems with chemicals in the brain, general health, or using alcohol or drugs." If you think you could be suffering from depression, don't wait. Tell someone you trust and, if you have thoughts of ending your life or hurting yourself, immediately contact SADAG's suicide crisis line. "Anyone can get depression — people of all ages and all races from all walks of life. About one in 10 people will experience some form of depression between the ages of 13 and 19, so if you have one of these illnesses, you are not alone," adds Chambers. "It's smart to seek help from a mental health professional as soon as possible, because the earlier you get treatment, the more likely it is that you will be able to successfully manage your depression throughout your life." hat Leads To Suicide? Depression is considered the leading cause of suicide. A depressed person may feel hopeless and see no reason to live. Other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and personality disorders can also lead to suicide. Alcohol use also is often related to suicide — in some cases, a person may use alcohol to cope with depression. But alcohol can also be a factor in suicides among people who are not depressed, while drug use can impair a person's judgment, lessen self-control and encourage suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, effective treatment is available for these problems. The more you know about suicide, the more you may be able to help. Good To Know You may have heard that people who talk about suicide won't actually go through with it. That's not true. People who talk about suicide may be likely to try it. In fact, 75 percent of people who commit suicide give some warning. This means all suicide threats should be taken seriously — and you can do something to stop a friend taking their life. nZIO 0 B Depression is sometimes a feature of another medical condition such as Bipolar Disorder (previously called manic depression). Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that affects about two percent of the population. "Like many mental (and physical) illnesses, Bipolar Disorder is still stigmatised, and individuals, societies, and professionals often have a negative view of a person who is Bipolar," says psychiatrist Dr Frans Korb. "Some people still believe common misconceptions and hurtful stereotypes, like individuals with Bipolar Disorder are not like everyone else — they are 'psycho' or 'crazy', they shouldn't have children, and cannot live normal lives. Many people, including health professionals, have no idea what Bipolar Disorder is or what a diagnosis means. They have stereotyped misconceptions, and there is a general lack of awareness about the disorder and its symptoms." Dr Korb explains it's not just 'other' people who misunderstand illness. "Self-stigma — the belief that you are weak or damaged because of your illness — can often be the most difficult kind of stigma to fight. For some people, finally receiving a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder can be insightful and a relief, but others feel devastated and even more alone. Early symptoms are frequently ignored and/or wrongly attributed to personality traits, adolescence, or 'life', which delays access to treatment even more." Bipolar Disorder is a chronic illness and, as such, requires lifestyle adjustments. "It's important to make healthy choices for yourself —just like you would if you were diagnosed with diabetes. Beyond the treatment you get from your doctor or therapist or the medication you take, self-help techniques and simple lifestyle changes can help you manage your moods and stay balanced. It's vital to know your triggers and early warning signs: watch for them and act. Try to identify the triggers, or outside influences, that have led to mania or depression in the past. Keeping a mood chart —a daily log of your emotional state and other symptoms you're having— is a great way to monitor moods, and detect early warning signs of trouble ahead. If you think you may suffer from Bipolar Disorder, speak to a therapist or doctor for help. Managing Bipolar Disorder starts with proper treatment, including medication and therapy. at I I Want To The feelings that cause a person to think about suicide are caused by the person's illness. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Don't be afraid to talk about these feelings. They are real, not a sign of weakness. With the right help, you can begin to feel better. If you're thinking about suicide, tell someone right away. Develop a plan to make sure you're not by yourself, with the help of your family and/or friends, and don't use alcohol or drugs as they can impair your judgment. Ask your spouse or family members to lock up any guns or other dangerous items in the house. Throw away all medications you are no longer taking. Depression can cause your mind to focus only on the bad things. Remember that this is only part of your illness, it's not who you are and it's not the way things will always be. Have regularly scheduled health care appointments and keep them. "Sometimes keeping pictures of your favourite people with you, or where you can see them at all times, to remind you they are there for you, helps," adds Chambers. "If you can, get involved in things you like to do. If you can't, then just spend time with family and friends, even if you are doing something quiet like watching TV, going to a movie, or reading with someone else in the room. If you drive, be sure a friend or family member knows to take away your keys when you are feeling suicidal. Talk about how you're feeling. At support groups, you can meet other people who may have been through some of the same things you have." How Can I Hel A Famil Member Or Friend? If you think someone you know has symptoms of depression or Bipolar Disorder, encourage them to seek help from their doctor, a school counsellor, or another type of counsellor or social worker. "You might want to offer to go with them to their first appointment. A person who is suicidal needs to know you care. Listen to him or her. Ask questions. Help the person discuss his or her feelings," says Chambers. "Learn all you can about depression. You might be that person's only source of information. Let them know you care. Remind them that they shouldn't feel ashamed or guilty. Avoid telling them things like, 'snap out of it'. Let them know their feelings are caused by an illness that can be treated. Invite them out, but be aware that they might not want to go at first. If they say no, ask them again later, or offer to stay in and spend time with them. If you are worried they might be suicidal, ask them, and help them get help. A straightforward, caring question about suicide will not cause someone to start having suicidal thoughts. If they are thinking of suicide, don't promise secrecy. Tell someone you trust immediately. Talk to the person about attending a support group meeting." InaP MAKE sure someone who may be suicidal have acce does not ss to things that can cause injury, like knives, guns, alcohol, or drugs. Do not take friend or fa responsibility for making your mily memb. You are not a er welltherapist If the . Person is in immediate danger, take him or her to a hos, casualty, or clinic Pita! WES VIRK PrRobin Williams, Kurt Cobain and Michael Hutchence committed suicide 'Some people still believe common misconceptions and hurtful stereotypes.' The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Toll Free Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567 or (011) 234-4837 or SMS 31393. Visit www.sadag.org Federation of Mental Health Johannesburg (011) 339-2621 Port Elizabeth (041) 922-8025 Cape Town (021) 447-9040 East London (043) 722-9680 Bloemfontein (051) 447-2973 Northern Cape (053) 841-0537 Durban (031) 207-2717 Pretoria (012) 332-3927 Lifeline National 0861 322 322

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