One in six New Zealanders will experience serious depression at some time in their life, so statistically, if we employ 60 staff we can expect that 10 of them will experience serious depression at some stage of their life.

Unfortunately there is still a stigma around depression, although it is a lot less than it has been in the past people, and regrettably, men in particular are often reluctant to discuss these types of feelings, so depression can be ignored, and therefore, untreated until it escalates up to a suicidal state.

  • Depression is one of the most common reasons that people are absent from work and the World Health Organisation estimates that by the year 2020, depression will be the second most common cause of ill health and premature death worldwide.
  • We all hear: Sure we all feel a bit down at times but why can’t he just ‘pull himself together, he has nothing to be depressed about’. If only it was that simple!
  • Depression is different to anxiety and to feeling a bit down, the key signs are constantly feeling down or hopeless and having little interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy. The symptoms of depression should be taken seriously if they last for more than two weeks.
  • So what can we do as work mates and employers? We can be open minded! We can be non judgemental as we have no idea what other people have experienced or are experiencing so make no judgements! If the person wants to talk, (likely with a female and unlikely with a male!) listen to them. Suggest and make it easy for them to see their doctor or to use the 0800 111 757 help line.

 

Other signs of depression can include:

  • Irritability and grumpiness.
  • Loss of energy and feeling tired.
  • Sleep problems – too much or not enough.
  • Changes in appetite and weight – – losing or gaining weight.
  • Blaming yourself and feeling worthless.
  • Problems with concentration and making decisions.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Feelings of emptiness or loneliness.
  • Thinking about death.
 
Traits which can increase the likelihood of a significant depressive episode are:
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Using a lot of recreational drugs such as cannabis.
  • Social isolation.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Poor diet and lack of exercise.
 
Some things we can do to reduce the risk of getting depressed are:  

Staying fit and healthy, Reducing alcohol use, Getting enough sleep, Having balance in your life – identifying and managing stress,• Spending time with people you like and trust, and doing things you usually enjoy and • Developing skills like problem-solving and effective communication.

 
If you want to talk to a trained counsellor about how you’re feeling, or you’ve got any questions, you can:
  • Call the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757
  • Text The Lowdown team for free on 5626

They can listen to your story, and come up with ideas about what might help. They can also put you in touch with health professionals close to where you live, if that’s what you want. Or for more information you can visit: www.depression.org.nz or www.thelowdown.co.nz