Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness. Many of us overuse the word depression as an expression when weíre feeling a little down or sad or even just having a bad day. Mild depression may just affect a person by them feeling persistently low in spirit, At its most severe it can be life-threatening, as they become suicidal as they give up the will to live. There are different forms of depression and depression affects people in different ways . A person canít "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together".

The Facts

One in five people will suffer from depression at some point in their lifetime.
The World Health Organisation estimates that depression is currently the fourth biggest, costliest and most debilitating disease in the world, and by the year 2020 it will be the second biggest.

It affects men and women, young and old. Depression can also strike children.

Studies have shown that about 4% of children aged five to 16 in the UK are affected by depression.

Suicides  in the UK rose by four per cent in 2013, figures released by the Office for National Statistics

In 2013, 6233 suicides were registered in the UK; a rate of 11.9  per 100,000 (19 per 100,000 for men and 5.1 per 100,000 for women). 

The male suicide rate is the highest since 2001, and  suicides among middle aged men aged 45-59 are at 25.1 per 100,000 which is the highest rate for this group since 1981
It is thought that around 13% of young people may try to hurt themselves on purpose at some point between the ages of 11 and 16, but the actual figure could be much higher.
In 2014, figures were published suggesting a 70% increase in 10-14 year olds attending A&E for self-harm related reasons over the preceding 2 years.

Nationally males are three times more likely to take their own life as females and people aged 40Ė49 now have the highest suicide rate nationally.

The causes for suicide are varied and complex but include mental illness which accounts for 28% of those deaths where a contributory factor was specified by the coroner.

Whilst the rate of suicide varies nationally the general trend is upwards, Gloucestershire is significantly higher than the national rate. The highest rates are in Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham and theses figures contributes to the high statistic rate for the Cotswold district, which is also higher than the national average. Hospital stays for self-harm are significantly worse in Gloucestershire than thy English average, female more than male but both going up.

85 % of admissions are due to poisoning 34% being paracetamol, and second antidepressants. NB other forms of self-harm usually did not result in hospital admission.

This indicates that many are not being recognised as being at risk
Sharp rises in self-harm at age 12 and then declining slowly with another peak at 46 with a possible link to deprivation.

555 children and young people under 19, 16.5% of all admissions over a four year period. 79.5% female. Paracetamol 53.2% - NB Possible suicide attempt.
The average self-harm admission rate for England was recently estimated at 208 people in every 100,000 but in Gloucestershire that figure was a much higher being 252, while in Cheltenham specifically it was 255 and in Gloucester 346.

These numbers are increasing at a high rate in recent years.
Between April 2009 and March 2013 a total of 3,354 patients were admitted. A total of 5,623 times on self-harm grounds and of these with 1,411 people admitted in 2013 alone.
The countyís hospitals saw a two to three fold increase in the number of inpatient stays between September and November 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. This seriously impacts on services and bed availability.




Being Positive and Caring in the Workplace

At sometime a work colleague will suffer depression, hopefully as a Team you have discussed strategies to deal with this effectively and avoid ignoring the situation.

Whatís going to be supportive?

Be positive and caring with your tone and body language, remember we

mostly communicate with our tone and body language, depressed people are acutely aware to these non verbal leakages.

Offer time and space to talk if possible. Let them know they are valued, provide feedback of something they do well.

Praise can be difficult to accept if you are depressed, but itís helpful, if itís honest and not overstated.

Silent and listen are spelt the same way for a good reason, you need to be silent to listen

Empathy letting that person know they are not alone in how they feel.

Acknowledge it must be difficult coping with depression.

Never rescue, ask them if they are receiving professional help and if not encourage them to access that help.

Never make promises, even if you think itís achievable, donít over commit, there is nothing worse than being let down especially if you are depressed.

Ask them what they need from you, if possible and workable offer a change of role if thatís what they need.

Be patient, nothing is going to change overnight, recovery is a slow process. Even their loved ones will get frustrated with them, so be patient you could be the one stable element in their life.

Plan a follow up checking out how they are doing? Making a little time for a chat, having a sense of humour, there is nothing worse than people

treating you like you have an illness. Be kind, honest, and have a sense of humour.

Depression and Humour are both self-generated which means it comes from within, Humour is a great healing tool if used appropriately.

Self-help is the best help with depression, and it doesn't matter how many people are supporting an individual, they need to put time and effort into helping themselves as sooner or later you will be alone with your thoughts.

Encourage Self-help and Positive Thinking

Whatís the good thing about depression ?

It lets you know something is wrong, sometimes we just need a little help to accept what it is, and adapt our behaviour or do something different.


Possible Physical Symptoms:

Difficult to get to sleep, wake up often during the night.

Wake up early

Sleeps in the day

Loss of appetite / over eating

Losing weight/ weight gain

Looks down

Loss of sex drive

Sexually active

Psychological Symptoms:

Unhappy, miserable, depressed.

Negative about everything

Unable to enjoy anything but will try to join in at times.

Unable to focus properly


Possible feelings of Guilt

More upset at certain times of the day 

unrealistic outlook of self


Spends a lot of time in bed during the day, escape problems that way.

Under-performing  at work if working

Over sensitive/ snappy

Difficulty in enjoying things

Spiteful at times

Can't make decisions

Starts most conversations with the word ďSorryĒ

Canít cope with things like they used to



Weight loss or gain                                                                  

loss of self-confidence

Feel useless, inadequate and hopeless

Avoiding other people, isolation






Unusually quiet

Unable to talk about things

Chats constantly

The good thing about depression is?  it lets you know something is wrong,

and you can always do something about it, but you really need honesty,

to accept what it is, and adapt your behaviour and do something different.