27 March 2014
Recent statistics sought from the Health Minister show that the rate of depression in West Belfast has dramatically increased by 75% from 2007 to 2012.
It is important to remember that depression is a stigmatised illness and therefore people may not feel comfortable talking about how they are feeling to family and friends. A lot of the time people will be living with the illness undiagnosed and therefore not receiving the appropriate treatment and help them recover.
These statistics are for people who have been diagnosed with depression when they visit their GP and it is likely that the number of people undiagnosed is much higher.
Aware Defeat Depression is a local charity dedicated to helping people with depression. They are also working within communities across Northern Ireland, providing education and training programmes aimed at helping people understand importance of looking after their mental health. The Charity has just announced the opening of a dedicated support group to help the increasing number of people with depression in the area. The support group will begin on Wednesday 2 April 2014 and will take place at the Centre for Health and Wellbeing on the Upper Springfield Road at 6pm and will run fortnightly on Wednesdays after that.
Siobhan Doherty, Chief Executive of Aware Defeat Depression said,
“We were approached last year by the Centre for Health and Wellbeing on Upper Springfield Road, who identified the need for support for people living with depression in West Belfast. This, along with the latest statistics, proves that depression is prevalent in the area and we would hope that with the introduction of our support group, that we can help people in their recovery from depression.
“Our support groups are facilitated by highly trained volunteers who are supported to carry out their role. Our groups provide an opportunity for people to meet others with similar experiences and allow group members to speak freely about how they are feeling, share information, discuss options and support each other to move forward.
Kate Laverty from the Centre for Health and Wellbeing said,
“38% of our clients in the Centre for Health and Wellbeing presented with depression related illnesses in 2013. Depression can present in a number of ways; loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, continuous low mood or sadness, feeling hopeless, feeling tearful, unexplained aches and pains, disturbed sleep, neglecting hobbies and interests and avoiding contact with friends among other things. Please contact us if you think we can help.”
Depression is an illness that can be treated, and many people can make a full recovery from it. People with depression display symptoms such as being unusually sad, not sleeping well, stopped enjoying something they once loved or lacking in energy and concentration. If you recognise this in yourself, or someone you know, please contact us today. Our helpline number is 08451 20 29 61 and we have a website packed full of information so log onto today at www.aware-ni.org”
Notes to Editors:
Statistics can be got from www.niassembly.gov.uk
Patients diagnosed with depression in 2007 was 7914 compared to 13879 diagnosed in 2012.