Men suffering with depression are being urged to come forward and ask for help during a national awareness week which aims to help tackle the stigma of depression.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is hoping that men who are otherwise suffering in silence will be encouraged to speak up during Depression Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday (26 April). The appeal comes after national statistics showed that fewer men than women come forward asking for help – a trend mirrored in East Anglia.
Depression happens when someone feels miserable and down for weeks or months, and is unable to enjoy everyday activities, can’t concentrate properly and has trouble sleeping. It can start to affect every area of someone’s life – including appetite, sex drive and outlook – and is a major reason for long term absences from work.
Some people suffering with depression also have physical symptoms, such as a dry mouth, sweating, shakiness, palpitations, breathlessness and stomach problems. In particular, men are more likely to experience irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, greater risk-taking and aggression. They are also around three times more likely to kill themselves than women.
Nesta Reeve, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Trust, said: “Thousands of people are affected by depression every day – but it can be treated, and the earlier people ask for help, the more successful that treatment is likely to be.
“Men seem to find it more difficult to ask for help than women, which could be because it is harder for them to talk about their feelings. We’re hoping to buck that trend by using this national Depression Awareness Week to encourage all people (and men in particular) across Norfolk and Suffolk to come forward and stop suffering in silence.
“There are lots of things men can do to help themselves, such as talking to someone they trust, keeping active, eating properly and avoiding alcohol and drugs. People may not be aware that they can access help for depression through the Trust's Wellbeing Services. People can refer themselves without going to their GP either by phone or online. Call Norfolk and Waveney on 0300123 1503 and Suffolk on 0300 123 1781 to self-refer. For more information, visit: www.readytochange.org.uk
“There are also a range of courses people can directly book on to, such as stress control, which help people learn practical ways to manage their anxiety or depression. We have found some people prefer these courses as you don’t have to talk (which some men feel more comfortable with). We also offer a range of additional help such as cognitive behaviour therapy and other talking therapies.
“Offering people as much choice as possible means they are more likely to feel comfortable with their treatment, in turn giving it more chance of being a success.”
In September 2015, an extended new-look wellbeing service will launch across Norfolk and Waveney, allowing Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to support an additional 3,500 people with conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress each year. The Trust is now keen to hear from anyone who has any ideas about how the service could reach out to more men. To get in touch, email: PCMHSmobilisationenquiry@nsft.nhs.uk
For more information about depression awareness week, visit: www.depressionalliance.org/get-involved/depression-awareness-week
This short film gives an insight into what it can feel like to suffer with depression called ‘I Had A Black Dog, Its Name Was Depression’www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc