Where to Find Help for Depression
It’s often said that Sweden has the highest suicide rate, this is not true. Scandinavians are the happiest on earth overall, often because there is no social media culture (no disrespectful people tweeting condolences to bereaved families of celebrities), the governments protect people from cradle to grave, there is little organised ‘you’ll go to Hell!’ religion and a quiet intelligence. It also helps that Danes cycle as much as the Dutch, there’s a real outdoor life.
So how do you help? First, know that suicide is complicated, so don’t blame yourself if you can’t help always. But often it’s a build-up of many factors (people who attempt suicide say they don’t want to die, it’s more they want the pain to stop). The key word is often ‘trapped’ rather than ‘depressed’. Never tell someone who is depressed to ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘people are worse off than you’. Both are unkind and without empathy. People who are depressed are perfectly aware (and care) about the struggles of others. They don’t need others, adding guilt to depression.
Here are some on where to find help for depression. The list is not exhaustive, but could help. You could try lifestyle changes first, and then if you need more help, consider one or more of the following.
- IMAlive is an online crisis network. Staffed worldwide by trained volunteers, just go there now if you feel depressed or suicidal for instant chat and help.
- Maytree Clinic (London and soon Manchester) offers a free house where suicidal people can stay for a few days with trained volunteers. They get a home, bed, food, garden and chats with kind people who don’t judge. It has prevented a few suicides already, but only a few can stay at a time. It would be great to roll this out nationwide, and beyond.
- Attending a retreat centre may help. These are mostly run by monks and nuns who live in buildings with vast accommodation and beautiful grounds, but little money. So they offer affordable simple digs and if you help with washing up, you get to stay for a few days to feel at peace. Most accept people of all faiths and none.
The NHS mostly offers (cognitive behaviour therapy). This has its critics as although it’s good for phobias and teaching you to think in a different way, most people with depression caused by trauma, guilt etc are not going to get ‘cured’ by drawing circles on a board, and numbering their depression from 1 to 10. CBT is used because it’s cheaper than individual talking therapy, which you may have to pay for, if you don’t want a long wait.
There are now lots of ‘online therapists’, which may help some. But talking over a laptop is likely not going to help someone feel less isolated, than go visiting a local priest, vicar or imam for a chat and a cup of tea. The Silverline has volunteers to chat to older people and you don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans though they are often overwhelmed with calls. Papyrus offers help for young people, and Support Line has a helpline, for people at risk of abuse.
Supplements for Mental Health
Nourished Inner Peace Pre-Blend is a quality supplement, created by experts in nutrition. The 7 high impact micro nutrients and superfoods are clinically proven to help support mental health, and can help bring relief from anxiety, stress and poor sleep. Each box contains 28 chewable vegan gummies in plastic-free packaging.
Talk to your doctor first, if pregnant/nursing or on medication. Side effects are not usually experienced, but if so, stop taking and talk to your GP. Keep away from pets and children.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
‘Winter depression’ is caused by people who don’t produce enough melatonin and serotonin when there is not much sunlight. The NHS don’t supply SAD lamps as a rule, so most people are best taking brief walks during the daytime, making their homes light and airy, and sitting next to the windows, when possible. You can buy SAD lamps privately, but they are not in the budget of most people (often hundreds of pounds).
Avoid using a SAD lamp if you have eye conditions or your eyes are sensitive to sunlight, or if you are on medication that makes your eyes sensitive to sunlight (including St John’s Wort, see below).
Medication for Depression
There is a lot of controversy over some medications for depression. You don’t want a GP that doles out anti-depressants like sweets. But some people genuinely need them. If your GP recommends anti-depressants, ask if there are other options first like therapy or exercise prescriptions (see above). If you do go on anti-depressants, check in regularly to avoid long-term addiction, so you are safe to come off them, when the time is right. Recycle unused medications at your local pharmacy.
St John’s Wort is sometimes prescribed as a herbal alternative, but should not be used for people on some medications or the contraceptive pill, nor for pregnancy or nursing. For this reason, it’s best to have it prescribed from a GP, not by a health shop.