One in four people suffer from depression every year making it one of the most common mental illnesses in the UK. Despite growing awareness many people are still worried about coming forward about their depression. Two-thirds of Britons who suffer from depression don’t receive treatment.
With the right help and support, and doing the right things, depression can be controlled.
Statistics about depression in the UK
Market research company BPR-Pharma carried out a national survey in order to get a snapshot of how depression is affecting the British population. The results found that a staggering 38% of those who were surveyed had felt depressed in the last six months.
Whilst 11% of those questioned said they have visited their GP about their feelings of depression, the vast majority (71%) said that they did not seek help from their doctor.
A lot of research suggests that women are more likely to suffer from depression compared to men. The results of this survey found that it affects both genders almost equally; 35% of men and 39% of women said they had felt depressed in the last six months.
The pressures of everyday life can take a toll on a person’s mental health. Many people feel over-worked, struggle to juggle work and family life, are suffering relationship breakdowns or are facing huge financial pressures. Perhaps this is why once we hit retirement age, fewer people report experiencing feelings of depression.
Amongst those surveyed by BPR-Pharma, 41% of those aged 18-64 said they have felt depressed over the last six months compared to 23% of respondents aged 65+.
How to cope with depression
If you think that you could be suffering from depression, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself cope.
- Address the problem - The first step is acknowledging that you could have depression. This is hard to admit and, for this reason, many people don’t open up until the symptoms are almost unbearable.
- Seek help - Once you have spoken to someone about your feelings, you can start your journey to recovery. Ideally, speak to your GP or, if you don’t want to do that, you can contact Life Works and we will be able to advise you. Even if you don’t feel ready to get professional help, speaking to a trusted friend, colleague or family member is a step in the right direction.
- Socialise - A common symptom of depression is losing interest in the things you once enjoyed. It’s difficult to put on a brave face when you feel low, but being around other people is an important part of beating depression. Socialising can improve our mood, help us to feel connected to others and it can also provide you with the opportunity to talk to others when you’re feeling low.
- Exercise - Regular physical activity can help to boost your mood and give you some much-needed energy. Furthermore, joining a sports team or participating in a class at the gym is a great way to socialise with others.
- Face your fears – It may seem natural to want to avoid situations that could aggravate our feelings, but this leads to difficulty in the long-run. If you’re feeling anxious about doing a presentation at work, going out with friends or attending a group therapy session, try to face up to the situation and do it. You will feel the positives afterwards and in time, your anxiety around it will ease.
- Avoid alcohol - Using alcohol as a coping mechanism can actually worsen the symptoms of depression and lead to long-term problems. If you find yourself drinking more in order to help yourself cope, try to cut back or even completely stop drinking until you feel you have your symptoms under control.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet - It’s not uncommon for those who are suffering with depression to experience changes to their appetite. Some people comfort eat in a bid to make themselves feel better and others completely lose their appetite. Antidepressants can also have a big impact on your appetite so speak to your GP if you’re concerned about this.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering from depression, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.