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Amelia Hellicar-Foster

The Nature of Depression

Depression is an illness and may be a severe condition, with constant sadness, anger, negativity and difficulty coping. It affects around 20% of people at some stage of their life. For those of you who havent experienced depression, the easiest way to describe it is if you go back to a loss in your family or a sad event that occurred in your life and imagine the pain that came with that sadness and loneliness and then picture that pain and sadness as an ongoing experience. A scientific explanation of depression would be a breakdown of the balance of neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals in our brains which allow us to enjoy aspects of life and give us motivation to do our activities. So people who have depression are not mad or crazy but they just struggle with enjoyment and the will to do the things that you or I might otherwise enjoy.

Sign and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of depression, each of which, if spotted early enough, can be treated. Some of the most common signs of depression are feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness and withdrawal from friends or family. Other signs may be: Anger Frequent crying or tearfulness Losing interest in everyday activities Changes in diet or sleeping habits Agitation Feeling guilty Lacking motivation and energy Having trouble concentrating Losing ability to control your emotions Losing weight Reduced pain tolerance If worst comes to worst, thoughts of death or suicide

The factors that build up to depression

Physiological Factors Social Factors Changes in the body as you grow up and Not fitting in with other people think you are different from others Feeling that your body is not good enough Feeling left out by your friends

Serious physical illness such as cancer, Loss or death within the family or chronic fatigue or glandular fever friendship circle A mental illness which causes the chemical imbalances of depression Intense stress or trauma Being bullied Tension in the family or with friends

Depression is a treatable illness but to get rid of it you may need to change your brain chemistry or mental processes. Some options are: Psychotherapy/counselling - Talking to someone trained in mental health about what youre dealing with can often help Antidepressants - for more serious cases Hormone treatment-If blood tests show you have low estrogen then replacing it can help lift your emotions and mood You can also visit websites that can help you get through these tough times such as: Beyond Blue, Black Dog, Blue Pages and many more that are out there to offer advice, free treatments and people who you can talk to.

Part B
Idea 1: Buddy System Queenwood could provide a buddy system for students with depression. The school counsellor could explain the program in Assembly and call for volunteers and provide training to happy, mature students in the basics of how to handle and help students with depression. These trained volunteers could then aid the students with depression with just regular sessions of talking or simply hanging out. This would be on top of counselling, of course, but hearing what a counsellor might have to say from a peer may ease the situation and they would be able to relate to the peer. It would be good to pair up students who have the same interests or hobbies.

Part B
Idea 2: Laughter yoga class The school could provide these classes before school when those suffering depression often feel worst. To help depression you need to do regular exercise and that is where the yoga comes in. Laughter is one of the best therapies for any illness or disease. You start laughing deliberately and then eventually the laughter begins to come naturally and before you know it youre giggling away. This theory derives from India and it provides a high after the class, making you feel vibrant and alive! This class could be provided to every student in the school but strongly recommended for those with depression because the mixture of yoga, which exercises your body, relieves stress and helps you calm down and the added laughter will have you feel cleansed, calm, relieved and happy after the class. Someone from the North Sydney Laughter Class could teach this at Queenwood.