Let's talk about depression this World Health Day
Published: 6 April, 2017
Friday 7 April 2017 marks World Health Day and this year it is themed 'Depression: Let's Talk', the perfect chance to discover some of the world class projects focused on depression at the Black Dog Institute.
According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) latest figures, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, with over 300 million people estimated to be living with depression.
New treatments for depression, including Ketamine
Professor Colleen Loo, School of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney; Professorial Fellow, The Black Dog Institute, is leading the world's largest randomised control trial into the potential of ketamine for the treatment of major depression.
“Previous placebo-controlled trials have shown a single dose of ketamine can produce rapid antidepressant effects within hours – but such benefits are yet to be observed in longer-term controlled trial settings," said Professor Loo.
“There are three major questions we need to answer before ketamine can be considered a viable treatment option for major depression: how safe is it? What specific dosage requirements are recommended? And what are its long term effects?
“An evidence-based approach is critical to ensure ketamine treatments are administered safely and in a way which is most effective for patients.”
Find out more about the ketamine trial and how to take part here.
Preventing depression in young people
“Treatment alone is not sufficient to ameliorate the burden of depression. Prevention approaches are absolutely key if we are to stem depression rates," said Dr Werner-Seidler.
“Schools are the ideal location to implement mental health interventions, and delivering programs in the school setting has the potential to reach all young people before serious mental health issues emerge. In particular, targeting sleep patterns may offer an alternative pathway through which depression may be reduced.
“Our research shows that proper integration of mental health programs in school curricula is needed in order to alleviate barriers to treatment we know young people currently face – stigma, time, access and cost.”
Read more about Dr Aliza Werner-Seidler's research on preventing mental illness in schools.
Our link to the World Health Organization’s ‘I had a Black Dog’ video
Artist Matthew Johnstone has been a creative consultant to Black Dog Institute for the past eight years. Matthew worked with the World Health Organization to develop their depression-themed video, 'I had a Black Dog', which has amassed close to 8 million views and has been translated in several languages.
According to Matthew, the video has global resonance because it transcends facts alone.
“Images are visceral and cut right to the quick of the problem. A picture tells a thousand words and can telegraph an idea in a really potent way. Adults love a picture book, especially if you can combine an image with an interesting metaphor or story," he said.
“I think the difference between bullet points, statistics and pie charts is that an image has pathos, and this makes a huge difference to people’s understanding of an issue."
Matthew says he created the video in the hopes of inspiring people to look after their mental wellbeing and seek help for depression.
“We are not the sum of our experiences, and this is hugely important when considering mental health," he said.
"There can be glitches in our lives but they can be managed; we can overcome them and become a better person if we start talking and seeking help.”
You can find out more information, facts and resources at the depression section of our website.
If you are in crisis and need immediate support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Emergency services on 000 (Australia).
If you or someone that you know is in distress of any kind, you can contact beyondblue for 24/7 support on 1300 22 4636.
If you or someone you know is in crisis please call one of the following national helplines:
LIFELINE COUNSELLING SERVICE - 13 11 14
SUICIDE CALL BACK SERVICE 1300 659 467 (cost of a local call)