Let’s talk about Depression

What is depression? In many cases, as soon as someone starts to talk about depression, the
listener jumps to conclusions and makes accusations or assumptions that the person is just
looking for attention or that you have suddenly become part of a group that wants self-pity.
But when we talk about depression, we know depression is an illness, there is help available
and a way may be found to get through it.

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions and it often goes together
with anxiety. It can last a very short period, or it can linger a bit longer than anyone would
like it to. Depression can even go away and creep up again after a period of time. Some
people may experience and describe depression as a “phase”, but for other people it might
mean ending their own life.

In some cases, depression is an inward struggle – nobody knows that this person is
suffering from a mental health condition. Few people can look past the smiling and laughing
face or have an awareness that something is brooding underneath. It is crucial to talk about
the possibility of depression the moment you suspect that you might be feeling down for
longer than usual.

Statistics suggest that in South Africa alone, one out of 4 people experience depression.
That is 25% of the country’s population. Out of that 25%, 9.8% of the adult population are
experiencing severe clinical depression. It is staggering how few of these people also reach
out to find help.

Unfortunately, here in South Africa, with the current position of the economy and high
unemployment rate, many people have financial stress. This can become anxiety and then a
comorbidity with depression can develop.

If you are feeling suicidal, please go to your nearest emergency department at your local
hospital. Otherwise reach out for help from a health professional. It is not a weak person
who asks for assistance but someone being aware of their own human limitations.