IN the UK around one in four people suffer with some form of mental health issue.
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues that people struggle with and it can be hard to spot in some.
If you’re worried that you might be depressed, then it’s important that you seek help in order to stop it escalating.
UK Times previously launched its You’re Not Alone campaign, to remind anyone facing a tough time that there is hope.
There are some questions that could reveal whether or not you or your loved one is experiencing signs of depression.
Experts at Patient Access have devised a questionnaire which could help determine if you need to seek help.
Feeling of sadness
The questions are multiple choice and you will first be asked if you are suffering from feelings of sadness, hopelessness or emptiness.
You’ll be asked to score this on whether you never feel this way, if you occasionally feel this way, if you often feel this way (once a week or more) or if you feel this way every day.
It’s important to note, the experts say, that feelings of sadness and hopelessness are key signs of depression and if you aren’t suffering from such feelings, it’s unlikely that you’re depressed.
However, they note that not all depression manifests in the same way.
Loss of pleasure
The second question asks whether you find it hard to find pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, you need to answer yes, no, or sometimes.
The experts said: “A common symptom of depression is feeling that you can’t engage with life or enjoy the activities you used to.
“If you’ve given up activities you used to enjoy, this could be a symptom of this condition”, they said.
Change in appetite
Next you’ll be asked if your appetite has changed and you can answer from ‘yes I don’t feel like eating as much as I used to’, no, or sometimes.
Loss of interest in food could be a sign of depression and missing meals can be dangerous.
The experts said: “If you find that you are missing meals, or not noticing your usual hunger signs, make sure you mention this symptom to your GP.
“Good nutrition is crucial for recovery, so make sure you prepare healthy, nutritious meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables and try to eat regularly.”
If you’re not depressed then this could be down to another medical condition, so it’s important that you speak to your GP.
The steps you can take to help a loved one who is suffering with depression
According to charity Mind around three in 100 people are diagnosed with depression every day in the UK.
Here’s how you can help someone who is struggling:
Show your support: The experts at Mind say that if you know someone is struggling, don’t be afraid to ask them how they are.
Ask how you can help: People might need help in different ways so it’s import that you ask your loved one how you can assist them during this time. That way they can tell you exactly what they need and what they don’t want.
Be open-minded: The experts said you should try and avoid using phrases such as ‘cheer up’, ‘I’m sure it’ll pass’ and ‘pull yourself together’. They added: “Try to be non-judgemental and listen. Someone experiencing a mental health problem often knows best what’s helpful for them.”
Don’t just talk about mental health: Just because someone has depression, it doesn’t mean they don’t have other interests that they would like to talk about.
Show trust and respect: Trust and respect between you and your friend or family member are very important – they help to rebuild and maintain a sense of self-esteem, which a mental health problem can seriously damage, the experts said.
Look after yourself: Supporting someone else can be hard and can be draining for you. It’s important that if you can, you share your caring role with others and if you need to, talk to someone about the obstacles you face.
Get support: If your loved one has severe depression or another mental health issue that means they can’t take out daily tasks then you could get help from the Local Authority.
Lack of energy
You’ll also be asked if you’re lacking in energy and motivation, answering, yes, no, or sometimes.
The experts say that this could be a sign of depression if teamed with other symptoms.
They added: “Low energy could also be associated with other medical conditions such as an underactive thyroid, diabetes or sleep apnoea.”
Low sex drive
You’ll also be asked if you’re sex drive has been reduced and this is because a lower sex drive is associated with depression.
The experts explained: “Many people with depression report a loss of interest in sex, so if you’re suffering from a lower sex drive alongside other symptoms, this may well be connected with depression.”
But it’s important to note that it’s also associated with a whole host of medications.
You’ll also be asked about your sleep patterns and whether or not you’re having trouble sleeping.
“Whether you have difficulties in getting to sleep in the first place, experience frequent waking, or find yourself up and about at an unusual early hour, this could all relate to this mental health issue”, they said.
Next you’ll be asked if you’ve had self-harm thoughts, or thoughts about ending your own life.
If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts, or think you are in danger of self-harming, it is important that you seek help immediately. Urgent help can be obtained from your local A&E department, or you could ring Samaritans for assistance on 116 123.
After answering this last question, you’ll be given resources that could help.
If you’re depressed, your symptoms might suggest you need to seek help urgently.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why UK Times launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
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