All about the mind

World Mental Health Day 2012

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. In Australia, it coincides with Mental Health Week this week.

The theme for this year’s WMHD is Depression.

Let’s face it: mental health does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are educated or not. It doesn’t care if you are married or single. It doesn’t care how rich you are or what colour your skin is or who you pray to.

Depression is a worldwide phenomenon. According to the World Health Organisation, depression affects about 350 million people of all ages and in all countries. There are treatments to help manage depression including medication and therapy. Unfortunately, not everyone can access treatment or recognises the signs and symptoms to access help.

Some common symptoms of depression to watch out for include

  • Low mood that lasts for a long time
  • Change in sleep patterns i.e. sleeping too little or too much
  • Change in appetite i.e. eating too little or too much
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Lack of enjoyment from pleasureable activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of energy and feeling easily tired
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling like your life isn’t worth living

And of course, if all these symptoms interfere with your daily functioning, it is vital to seek help.

Personally, I think it’s fortunate I’ve known the symptoms because sometimes, I think that’s what has helped me from spiralling at times into a clinical depression. I still remember back in India prior to coming here…I thought nothing was working out and my mood was quite low. I quit the Masters program I had started in Bombay because the university teaching was atrocious. I had applied to universities here but was in limbo. I was worried about finances. The only thing stopping me from getting depressed was the fact that I kept exercising and hitting the gym 6 days a week.

Exercise is a good preventative measure [especially if you are not genetically predisposed to depression] and it also helps those with anxiety [like yours truly!]. It also helps if you are depressed to exercise. Understandably, it’s for mild depression rather than severe depression. It is also important to take care of yourself. Seek social supports. But most importantly, try and get help from a professional. Especially if you are thinking that your life is not worth living.

So on this WMHD, don’t ignore the signs of depression.

There is nothing wrong in seeking help.

Until next time,



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