Monday, 24 December 2012

Getting help for depression

I wonder if the British tabloids, in their frenzy to Aussie-bash, will shout this from the rafters. Turns out the nurse (who was the one who took the prank call from the Sydney radio station) who killed herself had a history of depression and had twice before attempted suicide.
On the same day, India's Deccan Herald newspaper reported that Ms Saldanha had been hospitalised after twice trying to commit suicide within the space of nine days, during a family holiday in India last December and January. 

The first time she was taken to a private hospital in Mangalore after an overdose of pills. The second time she was taken to Father Muller Medical College Hospital in the same city with head injuries after apparently jumping from a building. 
Deccan Herald said Ms Saldanha was diagnosed as suffering a ''depressive disorder''. She received psychiatric treatment in hospital and was prescribed anti-depressants. Read more
Of course due process is to be followed and the radio station may yet face charges over it, as the article suggests, but to apportion blame completely at the feet of the two DJ's is absurd.

If she had such a history of depression and such a desire to die, the question for me is why didn't she get the help she needed from mental health services in England?   I mean she even worked in a hospital FFS. I dunno what sort of services as such exist in England, but one of the biggest things with suicide prevention is to admit the problem and seek help, it's in all the literature about suicide. If she didn't seek help, why not? Did she feel ashamed of feeling depressed and scared to admit to an outside party her problem? Are there education campaigns in England addressing this issue of shame?

I've a friend who rang me recently asking advice about Centrelink and about being depressed. He had an appt with Centrelink in which his depression was going to be discussed. He actually thought there was a danger they'd take him away from his family if he admitted his depression. Wow, where the fuck do people get these out there ideas? I assured him that they would recommend counselling and perhaps medication, and looking at other ways to address his depression, and that of course they'd not take him from his family! Told him they're there to help, not punish.

This is a very useful resource here in Australia; the Black Dog Institute. Here is their depression education program that you can look through online, and here specifically is the Getting Help section of that program. We had people from the Black Dog Institute speak to us at the Resilience workshop at BGF.