Shire backs suicide walk
This Sunday’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Network (SPAN) public walk in Bendigo is a significant opportunity to raise awareness about this critical issue.
Primarily designed to allow people from across central Victoria touched by suicide to remember loved ones, friends, work or schoolmates, the day will also include guest speakers, a free sausage sizzle and entertainment by Mez Whittle and the Castlemaine Pipe Band.
Using the theme “Tough Times Pass”, the walk will start with registration at the Dai Gum San Chinese precinct in Bridge St at 9.30am.
A mental health Triage service is a 24/7 emergency contact point for people experiencing a mental health crisis. The name Triage is somewhat misleading as it is not a word used in everyday language. According to Wikipedia, the definition of Triage is as follows:- Triage is the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition.
Depression is often referred to as "The Black Dog". According to Wikipedia, the term "The Black Dog" was first used by the English writer Samuel Johnson. It was then popularised by Sir Winston Churchill who also used the term to describe his own depression. As a result the term "The Black Dog" is in common use today to describe depression.
But what exactly is depression? It can be so different for so many people and sometimes words are not enough to describe the feelings, or lack therof, that are involved. A video might be easier to understand.
Mental illness is a subject often regarded as taboo in our society. It has been well established as an illness and yet many people have difficulty in talking about it in the same way they talk about broken legs, cancer or heart disease. With depression being one of the most common mental illnesses, it is important that people can talk about their illness, particularly with family and friends so that others can understand what someone with depression may be going through.
Whilst many people are becoming more familiar with the term bipolar disorder, many may know it by its old name of manic depression.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that touches on the extremes of the emotions and in turn can result in some strange behaviour by those who have this disorder.
It is quite normal, as you would well know, that our emotions rise and fall. We can feel sad, we can feel elated, we can feel inbetween. For the bipolar person, the emotions tend to rise and fall well beyond the range of the “normal” person. So people with bipolar can fluctuate between the extremities of elation, known as mania or hypermania and the other side of the coin which is depression.
Bipolar can be difficult to diagnose as people don't usually present themselves for medical assistance in the height of a manic phase. They are generally feeling too good, at least with hypermania anyway. People in a full blown manic phase will obviously be unwell to others around them and intervention is usually sought.
But for the most part, the bipolar person presents at the doctors with a bout of depression. The way our medical system is these days and the pressure on doctors, depression is what is usually diagnosed and appropriate anti-depressants prescibed. The anti-depressants usually fix the depression, but the individual then swings to a high. This can go on for quite some time until specialist psychiatric services are sought who do a full assessment and diagnose bipolar disorder. When this happens, the anti-depressants are usually stopped and mood stabilizers are introduced in their place in an attempt to limit the extremes of the emotions and bring them back within acceptable ranges.
Bipolar disorder is a complex subject and all people tend to present differently. Whilst there are many symptoms, not all will necessarily apply to each individual. This can be why it can be difficult to diagnose. That said, psychiatrists are skilled at doing so and if you are being treated for depression and it's coming and going with periods of highs inbetween, then perhaps you need to consider asking for a referral to see a psychiatrist.
For more information on Bipolar Disorder you can visit the sites below. The links will take you directly to their pages on Bipolar Disorder.
According to Beyond Blue, the National Depression Initiative, Depression is the most common of all mental illnesses and affects one in five Australians.
Depression as a concept is not all that uncommon these days thank goodness. This has been largely due to media coverage in news items, television shows about the illness and many high profile people who have come out declaring that they have the illness.
But exactly what is depression? How can we define it for someone who may actually be experiencing it for the first time?
First of all, we should recognize that life is not a complete bed of roses. Everyone of us has emotional ups and downs that impact upon how we feel. Depression is the “downer” part of our feelings but not until certain criteria are fulfilled. Up until that stage, the term sad is more appropriate.
So what is depression? Well depression can best be summed up as prolonged periods of sadness, but of a deeper variety. Some people describe depression as being void of all feelings, of feeling nothing at all. Many symptoms can present themselves such as constant lethargy, ignoring personal hygiene, loss of interest in hobbies and other activities previously enjoyed, lack of motivation and an uncaring attitude to loved ones and friends.
This is not to say that all these symptoms need to be present, but if you recognize a few, then perhaps it's time to talk to an experienced professional about your state of mind.
Types of Depression
Depression doesn't necessarily come in the plain vanilla variety. There are several different types, often caused by different reasons. We shall try and cover some of them here.
1. Circumstantial Depression
Circumstantial depression is probably the most common form of the illness. It can strike anyone at any time, but it is the circumstances in which people find themselves that brings on the illness. It is quite normal to feel sad or depressed when you lose a loved one, your job or perhaps your business is threatened with financial hardship. Often the stress of these events can be overwhelming and depression can set in.
The good news is that this type of depression is completely treatable and will pass with both time and a resolution to the circumstances that you find yourself in.
2. Post Natal & Ante Natal Depression
Adjusting to life as a mother can be difficult for some women. It can involve a lot of stress. These depressive episodes are reasonably common in women and not to be ignored. In particular, post natal depression can have severe impacts on the care of the newborn child as well as the mother. Partners and family should be on the lookout for signs of such depression and assist in getting the mother to take action.
For more information on Post Natal & Ante Natal Depression you can visit the Beyond Blue website information on Post Natal and Ante Natal Depression or the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association (PANDA).
3. Chronic Depression
Chronic Depression is the worst form of depression because people who have this form have it for life. The most important thing in these cases is good management. Usually this involved medication and perhaps psychological intervention also to help the patient manage the illness. Most importantly though, you cannot do it by yourself. Help is needed to effectively generate improvement in your health and help you to live a relatively normal lifestyle.
Further Information On Depression
Following are some links where you can get further information about depression. Remember though that reading about it is important, but doing something about it is even more important.
The Loddon Shire Healthy Minds Network was formed in 2007 to actively pursue mental health issues as they related to residents of the entire Loddon Shire. As a very large rural shire, many mental health services available to city and regional residents were not available in Loddon. Many Loddon residents also did not know how to avail themselves of the services that were available in Bendigo and Melbourne.
The Healthy Minds Committee is auspiced by the Loddon Shire Council and therefore has the ability to raise issues at State Government level. Ultimately, it is the Victorian State Government that has responsibility for the availability and type of mental health services in Loddon and beyond.
In addition to the committee, there are Mental Health Support Groups in the Shire who provide information and raise issues concerning them about mental health in an overall capacity. The committee will then deal with these issues at an appropriate level and seek to have them resolved or acted upon.