This is why we should be open about depression

Postdate: 02 March 2018

I have worked as a psychotherapist in mental health care for over thirty years. In the 1980s, depression and mood disorders were already achieving first place. The amount of suffering of people with serious and disabling mental health complaints is distressing. It was taboo to talk about this, to report their complaints, and let alone to take them seriously.

More media-attention
Slowly but surely this taboo is becoming less, partly because more is known about it. Brave Dutch celebrities dare to talk about their depression in the media, removing barriers and allowing others to also recognise themselves in this. [1] in addition, the national campaign 'Hey! It's OK' actively makes depression a topic for open discussion. [2]

Symptoms of depression
It starts by recognising the signs and symptoms before you ask for help. A depression is not just 'not feeling like doing anything’ or having ‘a bad day' but a chronic feeling of being down, tired, having concentration problems, doubts about everything, a profound sense of insecurity, poor sleep, changes in appetite and sometimes inexplicable fears. It takes a lot of energy to get through the day and to find anything that is fun, to the point that even the will to live can be lost.

Mental exhaustion can lead to depression
There are many causes of depression, but mental exhaustion is arguably the breeding ground for depression. Mental exhaustion can be caused by environmental factors such as loss of a loved one, but also due to being under chronically high levels of pressure. Working too much, too long and too hard with little recognition is an example. With the 24-hour economy and the many stimuli that bombard us at a high rate, we have created an environment around us that promotes mental exhaustion-and with it the chances of depression.

Tips against depression
What can you do about this? The first step is to recognise symptoms and take them seriously. Have you felt that things aren’t right for a while? You tend to get used to this and do nothing about it. You're not one to complain, but your symptoms still need to be taken seriously. Recognise this and talk about it. Once you talk about this, the step towards asking for help becomes easier. You need guidance to recover, but also to learn how to use a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent depression.

It is important that as many people as possible have access to resources to test their psychological status, and to access information and guidance if necessary. One option is to facilitate digital tools, such as the Tsuru App.

References: [1] Volkskrant [2] Rijksoverheid

By Dr Jessy Brouwers, psychotherapist/clinical psychologist and Tsuru Expert

'The first step is to recognise the symptoms and to take them seriously'

depression     media-attention     mental exhaustion     psychological status     symptoms    

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