9 Oct 2012
|Depression is a treatable illness.
Globally, depression affects around 350 million people. With World Health Organisation estimates of depression being the second highest cause of ill health and premature death globally by 2020 – are we facing a depression epidemic?
At AUT, new research is exploring the experiences of people diagnosed with depression. The research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the experience of treatment and recovery for people who have had depression in New Zealand.
Psychology honours student Barbara Pike is investigating the experiences of short-term mental health service-users in particular. Little research has been conducted into this group and yet they represent the majority of overall mental health figures, says Pike.
“In New Zealand, one in eight will meet the criteria for a Major Depressive Episode in their lifetime. Rates are rising and the age of onset is becoming lower, so it’s becoming increasingly important to review how we diagnose and treat depression.”
Preliminary findings show that, with good treatment, people develop insight and understanding into their experience of depression; where it comes from and what they can do about it.
“The Mental Health Commission emphasises that recovery is a journey to living well, with or without the ongoing effects of mental illness. This idea is supported by the research, where people talk about recovery as feeling better, but also being able to recognise the signs of an oncoming low mood and make changes.
“Sometimes, people need to make major life changes in their journey to recovery, such as quitting a job, ending a relationship or both. Their new self-understanding allows them to know what to do to maintain their wellness.”
“Other research also shows that better outcomes are achieved with more psycho-social interventions; where treatment takes into account the individual’s work roles and social functioning.”
Pike, who has also experienced depression, hopes her research will contribute to a better understanding about what aspects within and outside of treatment are helpful for recovery.
“I experienced severe depression throughout my early 20s, for which I accessed treatment in New Zealand and overseas. I would now classify myself as fully recovered. It was an incredibly difficult experience, but one I would not change because of the many positive things it has brought into my life.”
It's World Mental Health Day
on Wednesday, 10th October
. Join us for a free seminar about Depression; a critical area of mental health. Speakers include Professor Max Abbott, Sir John Kirwan, Dr John Crawshaw and Helen Wood. Spaces are limited so RSVP is essential. Visit our events page
to find out more.