Last Blog: Be The Change

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We knew our campaign was short but we tried our best to raise awareness about depression in order to support fellow college and university students suffering from it. We also wanted to educate their families and friends as well as provide them with tools and resources, which would help them, recognize and support the humans of depression around them.

We tried to lower our own walls by letting you in on some of our personal stories and takes on depression. We hope that it helped you connect with our blog as well as assured the humans of depression out there, that you are not alone. Despite the statistics and numbers proving that depression is indeed everywhere, we hope we have put a face to the statistics through these personal stories.

Depression affects our social and physical well-being; it takes a toll on sufferers of it as well as those surrounding them. Each one of us can do something to help. Our hope is that our posts may have inspired you to better understand depression and that this knowledge will encourage you to help yourself and others. We also hope this campaign motivated you to be a change agent yourself, in an effort to break the stigma and induce empathy within ourselves, to be part of the solution.

It was a wonderful journey, which taught each one of us more than we thought, hopefully as much as it taught you. We have connected with some of you and it has been a pleasure to feel that our messages were appreciated and found to be familiar. Thank you to all of you who have participated in this campaign. We hope you found it educational, motivational and empowering as we intended it to be.

Our final thoughts to you are:

  • Look out for your happiness and hold on to it because you deserve to be happy.
  • Start each day a new and ask for help because there are many waiting to help you.
  • Have faith in yourself and in time because healing will happen but it takes time.

Sincerely,

Humans of Depression representatives

#LetsTalkD #BeTheChange

Depression, Suicide and Aboriginal Peoples

Honouring Life Network:  http://www.honouringlife.ca/

The Honouring Life Network is a project of the National Aboriginal Health Organization. The Web site offers culturally relevant information and resources on suicide prevention to help Aboriginal youth and youth workers dealing with a problem that has reached crisis proportions in some First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in Canada.

In addition to providing a place for Aboriginal youth to read about others dealing with similar issues, the site allows for those working with Aboriginal youth to connect, discuss and share suicide prevention resources and strategies. The site’s directory of suicide prevention resources is updated on a regular basis with the hopes of providing Aboriginal communities with a comprehensive inventory of suicide prevention materials.

The website is designed to allow for sharing of resources between youth and youth workers to ensure the best possible information is made available to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Funded by Health Canada, the Web site stemmed from a joint working group of the Indian Health Services in the United States and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.

The National Aboriginal Health Organization is an Aboriginal-designed and -controlled body committed to influencing and advancing the health and well-being of Aboriginal Peoples through knowledge-based strategies.

Youth, Technology And Depression

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Since I became computer savvy and started using it, this opened vistas of knowledge to me but simultaneously I start thinking that this is taking me away from the social interactions, which remained part and parcel of human being since the time immemorial. I always contemplated that the generation which is growing up now particularly after 1990’s, may not be able to inculcate the feeling of closeness we have with our relatives, peers etc.

In my curiosity I found a article which says that in which study from Sweden concluded its result as ” in young women, high combined use of computer and mobile phone at baseline was associated with increased risk of reporting prolonged stress and symptoms of depression at follow-up, and number of short message service (SMS) messages per day was associated with prolonged stress. Also online chatting was associated with prolonged stress, and e-mailing and online chatting were associated with symptoms of depression, while Internet surfing increased the risk of developing sleep disturbances. And for young men, number of mobile phone calls and SMS messages per day were associated with sleep disturbances. SMS use was also associated with symptoms of depression. The findings suggest that “Internet and Communication Technology” may have an impact on psychological health, although causal mechanisms are unclear”. (Sara Thomée, 2007).

Thus I found a research which took me further in my thought with concrete results depicting how this technology is taking away not only from social interactions but also leading to more complex psychological problems. My further quest in this area led me in finding another piece of literature with the caption of “Technology Leads to Anxiety and Depression” which  shows basically that being on facebook for a long time could cause depression. Also people get depressed because they stress things they can’t control for example internet not working , phone frozen , etc. Another reason that technology could cause depression because every time a brand new a piece of technology comes out the people have to learn how to use it. Also because some people feel kind of stupid when new technology comes out. According to Dr. Stephen Westmoreland, a Psychologist in Tyler who says, “even with new technology to make life easier, stress has sky rocketed over the years.”  because when everyone gets a new technology they have to go through a tutorial of how to use it and not knowing how to use something you own could become stressful and cause depression. (Shamoon, 2009)

From all the information I learned that technology got its positive and negatives sides. The positive thing is advancing how we do things now  days, but the negatives are that its stressful situations which sometimes comes and which we don’t realize. Computer savvy youth must remain aware of these unforeseen consequences and must recognize the importance of real social interactions, which are innate part of human nature.

Ref:

Sara Thomée, M. E. (2007, May). Prevalnce of precieved stress, symptoms of depression and sleep disturbances in relation to information and communication technology use amongyoung adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(3), Pages 1300-132.

Shamoon, E. (2009, February 4). Technology leads to anxiety and depression. Retrieved from engadget: http://www.switched.com/2009/02/04/technology-leads-to-anxiety-and-depression-studies-show/

#LetsTalkD#Youth#Depression#Technology#Internet

A Personal Story Dealing With Depression & Self Identifying as Gay

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“I came out to my parents about my sexuality at the age of 16. To say the least, they did not take it well, nor were they supportive of who I really was. They thought it was not normal, that I was going through a phase, and if I continued to identify myself as ‘gay’, then I would live a life full of suffering and people looking down on me. I felt betrayed and hurt. Their words really hit me hard, because I was their son, someone they were supposed to love and support unconditionally. If my own parents do not want to accept me for who I am, then who else would? My depression and anxiety got worse. I started to take drugs, suicide crossed my mind many times. I had no self-esteem and felt as if I had no self-worth. I felt hopeless. I remember thinking ‘is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I be normal like other boys and change how I feel, to make my parents accept me?’ and I tried. I hid my sexuality for a long time and let my depression turn for the worst when I overdosed on drugs to get rid of all the pain I felt. My parents found me in my room unresponsive and took me to the hospital. A few days later, I was transferred to CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) where I was treated for my depression, anxiety and drug addiction through their Mood and Anxiety Program. I also learned about an organization called ‘The 519’ that works towards bringing LGBTQ individuals together to meet, participate and celebrate together. I decided to take a chance and attended some of their programs and met many people who were just like me and had gone through a similar situation as me. About 2 years later, with treatment, therapy and making new friends, I finally started to notice a change in myself, I finally felt accepted and safe. I finally felt normal. My parents are still not completely open to my lifestyle choices yet, but I know they will come around slowly. It really shocked them when I tried to kill myself, and they went through a lot of guilt, but now they are trying their best to understand me for who I am. I want to educate others with my experience and remind other LGBTQ youth that they are not alone, there is help out there, and it is not the end of the road.”

Dealing with depression and other mental illnesses is tough and challenging, but when an individual identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ), it can become much more difficult to cope when some people do not accept the for who they truly are. Many LGBTQ individuals feel alienated from others, and find themselves battling with their true identity versus the public’s perception. Sadly, many LGBTQ individuals find themselves resorting to suicide, because there does not seem to be a better option (their risk of suicide is 14 times more compared to their heterosexual peers and 20% greater for those living in unsupportive environments1,2). For those of you living with a mental illness, there is help out there- you do not have to suffer in silence. Let’s work towards creating more safe and supportive environments. Let’s talk depression.

LGBTQ- friendly Crisis Lines:

Trans Lifeline: (877) 330-6366

PFLAG Canada: 1-888-530-6777 ext 226

The Lesbian, Gay, Bi Trans Youth Line: 416-962-0777

For more information about ‘The 519’ click here : http://www.the519.org/index.php

For additional resources, help and support, visit: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/Pages/home.aspx

~Joti, Humans of Depression Representative

Remember to follow Humans of Depression on the following platforms:

http://twitter.com/HumansofD

https://www.facebook.com/HumansofDepression

http://instagram.com/humansofdepression/

References

  1. http://rhvp.ca/lgbtq-youth-suicide/
  2. http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-health/lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-people-and-mental-health/

Friend of a Depressed University Student

“I dropped out of McGill University because of depression. It was the type that begins as a barely perceptible malaise but quickly penetrates your mind and renders you nearly unable to speak, think, or even walk.”

Susannah Feinstein wrote the above in an article for The McGill Daily, where she tells her own personal experience battling with depression. Reading her story seemed all too familiar to me. One of my best friends went through, and is going through, the exact same thing. I remember the shock I felt when I found out that they dropped out of their university.

“My friends and professors had no idea that I was having personal issues, because I appeared fine. I still went to parties, and talked with friends for hours. I even comforted a few people who might have been facing depression themselves but privately I was unraveling. I started to have outbursts of anger or sadness. The second I was alone, I’d cry almost uncontrollably. I had to leave classes to cry. I had to leave conferences to cry.”

Just like Susannah, my friend hid it well. They were always the most talkative, charismatic person in the room, and everybody loved them. I had no idea what was going on behind that. I had no idea that my friend was going through an inner turmoil that nobody they knew could relate to. I had no idea, even after I found out… what I could do as a friend. I never knew anybody with depression, and this was one of my best friends. Where could they go for help? Who can help?

“McGill is struggling financially and McGill Mental Health Services are operating on a very limited budget. If students are guaranteed access to these services, I see no issue. The real problem with these services is that they’re incompatible with the needs of a deeply depressed person at almost every level. A triage therapist might misdiagnose you. They might see hundreds of students a week and be unconsciously eager to get you out of the office. Overcoming a bout of depression will take many appointments. It might take dozens of therapists until you even find one with whom you’re comfortable. If you’re feeling really low, you might not even have the energy or motivation to make an appointment. It’s incredibly difficult to address mental health issues at any large university, not just McGill.”

And that is exactly what happened with my friend. When they finally decided to reach out to the school mental health services, they did not like the counselor and could not get the help they needed. As a result, they had to move back home to see someone else. A major issue we have on university campuses is allowing an environment where everybody—students, faculty, staff, counselors—feel comfortable talking about it, and not just behind closed doors in the Mental Health Services rooms. We need to speak up and advocate for better services for those with mental health issues, we need to bring that level of care to campus grounds so that people don’t feel like they need to leave university to receive adequate care.

My friend still has not returned to university yet, and I hope that when they do, the school will be a much more inviting place for people struggling with depression to be in.

~ Mei, Humans of Depression Representative

#LetsTalkD #

Remember to follow Humans of Depression on the following platforms:

http://twitter.com/HumansofD

https://www.facebook.com/HumansofDepression

http://instagram.com/humansofdepression/

The above quotes are taken from Macleans. http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/i-dropped-out-of-mcgill-because-of-depression/

Depression in Men

Depression is not a gender specific disorder. All genders can relate to depression. Today, focus of discussion is depression in men. Men commonly have feelings of irritability, anger and discouragement 1. Male depression often undiagnosed because of failure to recognize symptoms, reluctance to discuss and often downplay their symptoms3. Men are more likely to complete suicide. Jack Windeler was a Queen University student, who had battled with mental illness2. He was a victim depression. He struggled to maintain academics, go to classes and eventually isolated himself 2. Unfortunately, his worsening depression was unnoticed and Jack committed suicide in March 20102. In memory of Jack, the Jack Project was founded to provide a youth help line aimed to decrease stigma associated with mental health and promote mental wellness2. The Jack Project become Jack.org is truly an inspiring charity, sustaining youth leadership and breaking the silence on mental health discussion. Visit the following link to learn more about program and initiatives.

http://www.jack.org/current-initiatives-and-programs

~Vanessa, Humans of Depression Representative

Remember to follow Humans of Depression on the following platforms and support #LetsTalkD:

https://twitter.com/HumansofD

https://www.facebook.com/HumansofDepression

http://instagram.com/humansofdepression/

Reference

  1. CAMH (2008). Depression. Retrieved from

http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/depression/Pages/default.aspx

  1. Jack.org (2015).Our history. Retrieved from http://www.jack.org/our-history
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (2013). Male depression:

Understanding the issues. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-

conditions/depression/in-depth/male-depression/art-20046216

Caregiver Depression

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‘It was March 26th, a lovely early spring day of my freshman year. Everyone was hyped about the end of winter but I felt it was all the same. I was walking home after a long day at university. I had 3 assignments due in 2 days but I knew they wont take a lot of time if I was time efficient. I have to get started as soon as I get home. As soon as I opened the door to the townhouse I share with my parents, my mom called “Are you there?” “Yes, mom.” I grudgingly replied. “I need your help with stuff in the basement, then fix your dad’s apnea machine, and take out the trash. Don’t forget to eat your dinner like yesterday, you are turning into a stick.” “Sure, mom” I responded. I did that, had lunch and was heading up to my room when i heard my mom crying the kitchen. She had been depressed for a while and it became common seeing her cry. “What is it mom?” I asked. “I just want to be left alone, no one helps me anyway so I might just as well stay alone.” “I’m here mom and I want to help, what can I do?” “Nothing, just leave me alone!” It was hard ignoring the negativity and helplessness I felt towards my mom’s illness. I really didn’t know what to do but I felt down myself lately. I went to my room and checked my emails, and found out 2 assignments were out. I hurriedly checked them and was disappointed with the marks I got. I bet this would upset my mom even more. I knew university is different and expected the hardships, but it seemed like it was all overwhelming. I couldn’t concentrate as well as I did and I was finding it difficult asking for help from colleagues. Most if the time I preferred going home, to my room. Even soccer, which was my ultimate outlet, has been off my radar for a while. I think ill just go to sleep.’

This is a story of a 19 year old boy, well on the road for depression. Caring for his depressed mom has taken its toll on him, as it may on many children. From his journal, we can deduce some symptoms of depression already. He was feeling down, helpless towards his mom’s condition, guilty that he would cause her more upset, losing interest, skipping meals and escaping reality by choosing to sleep even though he had lots to do.

As caregivers, we can slip into depression but it doesn’t always have to be this way. Remember, as noble and admirable as it is, caregiving should not take away from our lives, our happiness, and our self-esteem.

To learn more about caregiver depression, please check this link: https://caregiver.org/depression-and-caregiving

~ Faten B., Humans of Depression Representative

#LetsTalkD #CaregiverDepression #KeepYourselfInMind

Remember to follow Humans of Depression on the following platforms:

http://twitter.com/HumansofD

https://www.facebook.com/HumansofDepression

http://instagram.com/humansofdepression/

Depression at Workplace

In his classic, “The Prophet,” Khalil Gibran writes: “Always you have been told that work is a curse… But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born.”

Unfortunately Kahlil’s words don’t jibe with a new Australian study that found almost one in six cases of depression among working people caused by job stress, that nearly one in five (17 percent) working women suffering from depression attribute their condition to job stress and more than one in eight (13 percent) working men do the same. In the last decade, the number of American workers that say job stress is a major problem in their lives has doubled. In fact, the US Department of Health reported that 70 percent of physical and mental complaints at work are related to stress. Depression ranks among the top three work problems for employee assistance professionals, following only family crisis and stress. A study says in Canada10% of  workforce or 1.4 million people suffer from depression and only 6.5% of those or about 187,500 get appropriate treatment

Depression is one of the most costly health conditions for American employers. Nearly 63% of the $83 billion in total economic costs (including both direct costs of healthcare services and indirect financial costs) associated with depression annually are due to workplace losses. Depression is associated with more than $44 billion per year in lost productivity in the workplace from both absenteeism (workers with depression lose approximately 2.3 days of work per month) and “presenteeism” (workers with depression are often not able to accomplish as many tasks or perform at as high a level as workers without depression).

A huge pile of unfinished work is not the main reason why employees become depressed, concludes an extensive new Danish study. Surprisingly, the study indicates that a heavy workload has no effect on whether or not employees become depressed. Instead, it is the work environment and the feeling of being treated unfairly by the management that has the greatest effect on an employee’s mood.
http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/Health/12-Workplace-Depression-Busters

http://www.mooddisordersmanitoba.ca/

http://www.depressioncenter.org/work/depression-and-work/why-should-care/

http://sciencenordic.com/boss-not-workload-causes-workplace-depression

#LetsTalkD#Depression#Workplace#Workload#Jobstress

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Depression is a debilitating chronic illness, and often difficult to treat .When it comes to dealing with seasonal affective disorder — an extreme lethargy and sadness that accompanies the onset of winter. It is known to have a seasonal pattern, with US data suggesting summer and winter peaks

People with this condition lose steam when the days get shorter and the nights longer. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include loss of pleasure and energy, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate, and uncontrollable urges to eat sugar and high-carbohydrate foods. The risk factors associated with SAD are female, age, family history and living away from equator. Although they fade with the arrival of spring, seasonal affective disorder can leave you overweight, out of shape, and with strained relationships and employment woes.

Winter depressions, but not summer depressions, have been shown to be responsive to light therapy . Given that vitamin D is widely deficient in Western populations, and that there is a demonstrated association between mood states and seasonality, several studies have investigated the link between vitamin D and depression.

This is especially troublesome for the international students coming new to places like Canada, they must think about developing coping strategies.

Seasonal Effective Disorders- Bring on the light: Michael Craig Miller, M.D.,: Harverd Health Publications; Dec. 2012.

Luiz, C. (2014). Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/coping-with-seasonal-affective-disorder/00020857

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/risk-factors/con-20021047

#LetsTalkD #SeasonalAffectiveDisoder #InternationalStudents

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression

“When I had postpartum depression (PPD) with my first child, I blamed myself for feeling the way I didI felt it was my fault that I had it, that my weak character, my inability to be strong, had brought on my postpartum depression. When I began therapy for my PPD, my therapist helped me realize that I did not cause my PPD. I couldn’t have predicted it or prevented it. And I needed to forgive myself for having it”.

Every pregnant and new mother, regardless of her geographical location, race, marital status, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status should have the right to enjoy, as the World Health Organization states, the highest attainable standard of mental health. PPD is a part of it.

The average prevalence rate of non-psychotic postpartum depression based on the results of a large number of studies is 13%. Prevalence estimates are affected by the nature of the assessment method (larger estimates in studies using self-report measures) and by the length of the postpartum period under evaluation (longer periods predict high prevalence). The strongest predictors of postpartum depression were past history of psychopathology and psychological disturbance during pregnancy, poor marital relationship and low social support, and stressful life events. Finally, indicators of low social status showed a small but significant predictive relation to postpartum depression

There are many options for support: talk therapy, medication of many types, new mama groups, other support groups, friends, yoga … Bring Your Own Baby (BYOB) yoga, on yoga mat with your newborn is always an exciting experience taking you out from depression.

Its awareness of this issue which needs everybody’s attention.

~ Amir A., Humans of Depression Representative

#LetsTalkD #postpartumdepression #yoga

Remember to follow Humans of Depression on the following platforms:

http://twitter.com/HumansofD

https://www.facebook.com/HumansofDepression

http://instagram.com/humansofdepression/

Reference:

http://www.postpartumprogress.com

Rates and risk of postpartum depression—a meta-analysis 1996, Vol. 8, No. 1 , Pages 37-54

Michael W. O’hara, and Annette M. Swain: International Review of Psychiatry

http://bloomablog.com/walk-postpartum-depression-anxiety/