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Belfast teen’s depression video helps break down stigma

Belfast teen’s depression video helps break down stigma

Published on Monday, 16 May 2016

Posted in News

An online video on how to talk to someone with depression made by an 18-year-old Belfast woman who has suffered from the illness has really made an impact with over 1,000 views in less than three days.

Emma Norris decided to tell her story to help educate and inform people about how to talk to someone with an illness that people can still find very difficult to talk about.

Now Emma, with the help of AWARE, is asking the public to view it and share with a friend or family member throughout Mental Health Awareness Week (May 16-22, 2016) and beyond.

She made this call as the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is relationships and how good relationships can positively impact on our mental health, something that Emma passionately agrees with.

After being diagnosed with depression at the age of 17 Emma found that her family and friends were keen to offer her support but found to subject difficult to approach.

“Through my battle with depression it became apparent that everyone around me wanted to help, but they just didn't know how,” said Emma.

“It is completely understandable and I don't have a problem with that, but maybe it's time to address it.”

By uploading the video on a public forum Emma hopes to help generate a discussion around how to talk to someone with depression in an appropriate and sympathetic manner. Particularly given the strides that have already been made towards breaking down the stigma of mental illness.

“Now that we have ended some of the stigma associated with depression and we are ready to talk, we need to talk openly about what each individual finds offensive or difficult to listen to, which topics we struggle with and which we don't. And that's just the sufferers' role,” she said.

“To the supporters we need to refine our emotional intelligence and be aware, but not scared, of the difficult conversation topics. Each and everyone one of us, sufferers and supporters, need to be aware of what we are talking about and how we say it.”

AWARE Chief Executive Siobhan Doherty said good relationships – whether it be with family, friends, colleagues – can be crucial in helping recovery from depression.

“Emma’s video is a powerful and extremely helpful source of information for anyone who has a loved one suffering from depression,” she said.

“Through her own personal experience she is able to articulate in a sympathetic way that it can be difficult to talk to someone with depression if you don’t know what to say. But her message is that it’s okay to talk and it’s good to talk and that is something we as a charity would endorse.

“People who are suffering from depression can very often want to avoid friends or relatives, but that is the time that they need help and support.

“One of the most important things you can do is encourage your friend or relative to seek appropriate treatment and let them know that it is possible to do something to improve their situation. By talking to them in a sympathetic and caring way you can encourage them to talk about how they are feeling and begin the process of recovery.”

Tags: AWARE | belfast student | Depression | emma norris | help | Mental Health | mental health awareness week 2016 | relationships | support | talking | Talking Therapies | video