Dr Marjorie Green – Beyond Blue
Her boss, as of the day before, is Julia Gillard but Marjorie’s main purpose in talking to us was to raise awareness about depression and anxiety. She told us that a common question was ‘How do I get someone to seek help if there is something wrong? 1m people live with depression and those figures equate to 1: 6 women and 1:8 men…not that men suffer less from mental issues, just that it is under-reported in men! Similarly, 2m people suffer anxiety with figures showing 1:3 women and 1:5 men will suffer….more under-reporting!
The most common suicide risks are elderly men, young men and people living in a rural community.
Marjorie took us through a number of signs of depression but, basically, if you feel tired, have a different sleep pattern, or have significant weight gain or loss, these can be physical signs. Your feelings, such as unhappiness, being overwhelmed or irritable may also indicate issues and your thinking may also reveal symptoms as may your behaviour. For instance; not getting things done, taking lots of days off or turning to alcohol could be indicative of depression.
For anxiety, the physical signs often appear similar to a heart attack whilst one may also feel fearful or suffer a panic attack. Behaviour may also change and include poor concentration and difficulty in decision making. Marjorie made the point that no one is immune to these health issues and they can impact on physical health (and vice versa). The point also made is that the sooner help is sought, the easier and more effective treatment will be.
A further point made was that it is vital to maintain connections with family and friends. Social interaction is very important Marjorie noted that we should eat well and try to develop good sleep patterns, improve our sense of worth and also take regular exercise.