Tag Archives: suicide

Depression, what it is, and how to get help.

Depression by Tom Robson

Depression is a hard condition to live with, it’s subtle and those who never have the experience will perhaps never understand how greatly it affects the individual. Often it’s mistaken for being withdrawn, unapproachable or antagonistic, with no empathy for the person experiencing this ‘pain’.  This pain is  manifest as reduced abilities to communicate and interact at the same pace of other peers, yet what depressed people say and do, is merely a fraction of what they’re thinking.

There is no cure for depression and there is no point within recovery when you ‘know’ you’re over an episode of it. (And you never know when the next episode will begin).

There are several ideas about what causes depression. It can vary a lot between different people, and for some people a combination of different factors may cause their depression. Some find that they become depressed without any obvious reason.  You can read more on the condition over at Mind.org,uk

Every year, World Health Day is celebrated on 7th April with a distinct theme. While last year’s focus was on diabetes, this year the spotlight is on one of the most underrated mental disorders – depression. Most people don’t like talking about it, while others simply don’t treat it as a severe, debilitating condition.  A quick look at the statistics is enough to understand the appalling severity of the rising number of depression cases. Depression, when unchecked can assume a menacing character with many succumbing to it and ending their lives. Depression can affect a person’s overall well-being. People suffering from depression can experience difficulty in carrying out their day to day activities. They may feel a sudden withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyable to them. Social aloofness is also one of the characteristics.

“At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds,” WHO. Depression in people rose by 18% between 2005 and 2015. It is also the largest cause of disability in the world with most people falling prey to it from low to middle income countries. Suicide rate are also high in low to middle income countries in young people ageing 20-25. WHO’s study depicts more suicide cases in men as compare to women all across the globe.

This World Health Day is not only dedicated to understanding depression better but embracing the wide spectrum of mental disorders as well. The day calls for developing empathy towards every sad face and a will to pierce through the veils of loneliness that might push somebody into depression.

Men living with HIV have an elevated rate of suicide, particularly in the first year after diagnosis, according to a fifteen-year study of almost 90,000 people diagnosed with HIV in England and Wales, with comparison against the general population. Sara Croxford of Public Health England presented the findings to the British HIV Association conference in Liverpool yesterday.

You can read more about how suicide accounts for 2% of deaths in people with HIV, twice the rate of the general population over at NAM.

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, tense or depressed and find that these feelings are impacting on your relationships, work, or life generally, talk to your GP.  There are therapies and other treatments which can help.

In a mental health crisis?  See your GP who can refer you to the Mental Health Crisis Response Team. Alternatively you can call the local Richmond fellowship crisis helpline on Freephone 0808 8003302 (2pm- 1.30am)

Feeling suicidal now? – Call the Samaritans on 116 123

You can also speak Help and advice can also be found at LAMPNetwork for ChangeMINDHealth for Teens and Time to Change. There are also a range of NHS-endorsed digital applications that can help treat depression and anxiety and improve access to psychological therapies.

GP’s use a relatively simple questionnaire to monitor the severity of depression and response to treatment. It is not a screening tool for depression, however it can be used to make a tentative diagnosis of depression.  You can view this questionnaire over at Patient.info

Do you know someone who is suffering depression?  You may want to help but can’t seem to find a way in?  When a family member or friend suffers from depression, your support and encouragement can play an important role in his or her recovery. Mind.org,uk offer practical help which you can use to help you support someone in need.

 

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Robin Williams 1951-2014

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Jonathan Vincent is mourning the death of a friend, a man to whom he delivered a sofa, struck up a friendship and with whom he helped to hand out money to the homeless.

The death of Robin Williams in San Francisco this morning has left Jonathan saddened and reflective about a man who quietly gave his time and his money to  help others.

Jonathan who now lives in Merimbula on the NSW Far South Coast, first met Robin Williams in 1988 when he was working with a removal company to the rich and famous of San Francisco, AKT Trucking. The trucking company was delivering items to Robin Williams’ temporary home while his new house was being built.

Jonathan said: “We were delivering an expensive couch to his house in San Francisco at the Golden Gate and we just seemed to click. He couldn’t get his head around my New Zealand accent. He could do an Australian accent but not New Zealand one. I worked for him a couple of times and then he said that he was involved in some charity work and would I mind giving him a  hand.”

Jonathan agreed to help Robin. “He drove up to my place, picked me up and we drove to an area where there were lines of homeless people outside soup kitchens.”

“We parked and went on foot and Robin started handing money out. Some people recognised him and some thought he was a ghost. He wore a hoodie because he didn’t want to be recgonised.”

It became a regular outing for Jonathan and Robin about once a month over the course of almost four years when Jonathan lived in San Francisco.

Jonathan said that Robin would either leave some money with the soup kitchen organisers or simply hand it out to the homeless in the queue.

“He was a generous, witty and kind person with his time. He was famous on the big and small screen but there was another side to him that I was privileged to be apart of. The idea was hatched as we jogged around the cinder track in Golden Gate Park in 1989, every Wednesday Robin, a few mates and my partner and I would meet on the corner of O’Farrell and Van Ness to begin our rounds of visiting those who were sleeping rough.He was one of the brains behind the portable homeless shelter in a briefcase.

“You have to realise that San Francisco in winter it can get so cold that people have been found dead even on Market Street, the main shopping strip.

“Robin often handed out cash and clothing, but his greatest gift besides his humour was to offer his hand to show that he did really care. Robin quietly supported many charities but one he was most passionate about was visiting San Francisco General and San Diego General hospitals to offer support to those living with HIV/AIDS.”

“I could not tell you what financial contribution he made to these hospital support services but it was significant. He used to say that he was carrying on the tradition started by Gerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead fame who would hand out $100 bills on Christmas Eve to the homeless.”

It was something that Jonathan also became involved in when he was asked to help Gerry Garcia.  “Robin would come along in his trackies and hoodie surprising and delighting those who recognised him.”

There were moments of quiet and introspection though. Jonathan said: “During his quiet moments you could see in his eyes there was a bigger plan. He always wanted to ground himself by helping the common people. He was very introspective sometimes.”

But there was also a dark side with which Robin Williams wrestled.

Jonathan said that he saw that side when Robin wouldn’t speak for a couple of hours or would suddenly race off when they were jogging as if he wanted to outrun the dark mood that had overtaken him.

Jonathan said: “We have lost one of the great funny men on the 20th century. Robin always lived life at full speed, had his issues with addiction but in his eyes you could always see the spark of human kindness that made him more a man than a celebrity. He was a noble person, of great humility, whom I am privileged to say shared a tiny part of his life and humanity with me.”

Robin Williams 1951 – 2014

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Story via South Coast Register

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