Northern Ireland’s leading depression charity, Aware Defeat Depression is asking people to be more conscious of depression during Depression Awareness Week, which starts on Monday 20 April and runs until Sunday 27 April 2015.
According to research from the World Health Organisation, by 2020, only five years from now, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world behind heart disease.
Aware currently provides support to more than 5,400 people across the north and offers a range of services to help those
suffering with depression get expert advice as well as peer support.
These services include 22 depression Support Groups; education programmes that help people become more aware of the signs and symptoms of the illness, how to recognise it in themselves and others and most importantly – what to do if a person thinks they are depressed.
The aim during Depression Awareness Week is to reach out to more people and to support them an understanding depression, to prevent the occurrence of depression and to help people recover from this devastating illness.
One such sufferer that attends the groups is Paul McAlea from Killylea said, “Aware’s Support Group saved my life. I could not find my way out of depression and when I found Aware, I started my journey to recovery and today looking back cannot believe the change in my life.”
Aware also runs Education and Training Programmes including Living Life to the Full, Mindfulness and a Mood Matters programme specifically for young people in secondary schools. Aware’s portfolio of services aims to help prevent people becoming depressed, to stop them become more depressed and to support them recover if they have the illness.
Siobhan Doherty, Chief Executive of Aware, said “Depression is a common illness, that it is treatable and that people can recover from it. Our work during Depression Awareness Week only serves to highlight what we do every week of the year. We work with young people in schools providing them with the knowledge and skills to develop personal resilience, we work with young parents to help them understand how the arrival of a new baby can bring about changes in good mental health and we work across the adult population providing services which help people in their recovery from depression.”