Log In
Friday 21st October 2016

National Depression Week

1st May 2006

01052006_mandepressed1Q.jpgOne in five people will be affected by depression at some point in their life. More than 2.9 million people in the UK are diagnosed as having depression at any one time with as many as three in four cases of depression neither recognised nor treated.

About 1 in 6 people who experience severe depression eventually commit suicide and 70% of recorded suicides are by people who have experienced some form of depression, say the charity Men's Health Forum.

Tragically for some depression can lead to death, say the Depression Alliance. Depression Alliance is a charity for people affected by depression, providing information and support services to those in need. The charity coordinated National Depression Week™ in April. Each year it has a different theme, the theme for National Depression Week™ in 2006 is Complementary Therapies.

The theme was chosen as a response to the hundreds of queries they receive from people asking about self-help treatments and therapies that might be used to complement medication, or be used alone to cope with mild depression. The Alliance say they receive over half a million website hits and thousands of calls and emails each year from people seeking information and support.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, said that he agrees with the Depression Alliance that those suffering from depression would often benefit from access to complementary therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, nutritional advice and exercise; he added that the waiting lists for many alternative therapies are unacceptably long and that the number of people suffering from depression is rising.

Depression Alliance's chief executive, Jim Thomson, said that 'Depression is often seen as the Cinderella of illnesses. Nobody pays much attention to it, it's an embarrassment and something not to be spoken about, and as a result it never gets invited to the Ball with the more glamorous and politically motivating issues'. He added that as depression accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of the work burden of primary care - yet qualifies for only four per cent of the 'mental health' quality points in the new GP contract 'it's highly unlikely that depression could afford a ticket to the ball, let alone a gilded coach.'

The Stroke Association added its support to National Depression Week, urging people to become more aware of depression after stroke. Over 130,000 people suffer a first stroke every year in the UK, and depression is one of the most common problems that can occur. It is estimated that up to half of those who survive a stroke will experience depression at some stage in the first few years.

Margaret Goose, Chief Executive of The Stroke Association said that depression after stroke can affect anyone of any age or sex and there is a need for greater awareness, as it can adversely affect recovery. She added that most stroke patients are not screened for depression, saying 'It is crucial that depression is diagnosed as soon as possible in order for stroke patients to receive the most appropriate help".

Depression Alliance has written to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), appealing to it to consider how complementary therapies are used to treat depression because there is an overwhelming demand from patients, reports Polly Curtis in The Guardian.

The letter suggests the use of the herb St John's wort could save the NHS thousands of pounds. Antidepressants cost on average £18.82 a week compared with 82p for the remedy. A spokeswoman for NICE said the Department of Health referred subjects to it for investigation and it would pass the letter on to the ministers concerned.

A report was also released by the mental health charity the Mental Health Foundation, to coincide with the National Depression Week. Research done for the Foundation concluded that Britons are using "dutch courage" to mask the fact that they are suffering low-level depression. The soaring drinking rate - consumption has doubled in the past 50 years - is evidence that people are attempting to "self-medicate" their emotional upsets away, reported the Mental Health Foundation.

Chief executive of the foundation, Andrew McCullock, said that people are drinking to cope with emotions and situations they can't otherwise manage, to deal with feelings of anxiety and depression.

The report highlights the wider problem of "self-medicating" emotional trauma with alcohol. Research by NOP found that 40% of people drink to feel less anxious, 26% to deal with depression and 30% to "forget their problems".

Share this page


David Purves

Friday 5th February 2010 @ 11:23

Depression is very treatable. The problem is that we look for a medical solution for a psychological problem. Anti depressants appear to be largely ineffective. CBT is the treatment of choice and it is easy to apply. so easy that it can even be done using a computer. see www.bluesbegone.co.uk

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2016