While so many people in the Downpatrick community and beyond are mourning the sad untimely death of Stephen Shannon who suffered from depression, a regional agency which is working to fight this illness, has launched an awareness week writes Donna McKinney.
With an increase of 3.1% of adults diagnosed with depression in the last five years, it is important that people are able to recognise signs of depression and know where to go for help and support. Aware Defeat Depression is the only charity in Northern Ireland working exclusively for people with depression and they are encouraging people to talk about the illness.
Siobhan Doherty, Chief Executive of Aware Defeat Depression said: “Depression is an illness that can affect anyone at any stage in their lives. It can affect your next door neighbour, a relative or friend, the actor you watch on TV or the singer you listen to everyday. The most important thing to remember about this illness is that it can be treated and you can recover from it.
“We were delighted that Gary Lightbody from well-known band Snow Patrol, was willing to help us out with our campaign to encourage people to talk about the depression they are experiencing. Gary has previously suffered from depression himself and would therefore understand what it’s like for a person experiencing depression.
“Northern Ireland currently has the highest percentage of people with depression in the UK and has seen a 3.1% increase in the last five years.
“During Depression Awareness Week on 15-21 April 2013, Aware Defeat Depression is reaching out to those people suffering in silence to speak to someone. Our helpline is available to call on 08451 20 29 61 or visit the website at: www.aware-ni.org.
“Aware Defeat Depression facilitates twenty support groups in rural and urban areas throughout Northern Ireland helping people with mild to moderate depression.
“We also offer programmes including Living Life to the Full and Mood Matters. These programmes help people develop an understanding of mental health with a particular focus on depression as the most common of mental health illnesses. Participants are provided with a toolkit that will give them the skills to build their personal resilience to the illness, or if they have depression, to help them manage their illness and assist in their recovery.
“For more information on depression, or to find out about any of the above programmes, please call or email Aware Defeat Depression today.”
Suffering from depression? Don’t be afraid to talk about it.
Help is available.