Dr Barbara Mariposa joined us at Mindshare on 13th April to Shine a Light On Depression. Here you can discover a summary of that talk, covering how to look after your own wellbeing, spot the signs that someone close to you may be struggling and how to best support them.
Key Messages about Mental Illness
Let’s Talk About It - we all need to connect, communicate and care to be well
Say No to Stigma - mental illness is no different from physical illness
We Are Not Broken - recovery is normal since people heal, learn and grow
Supporting Yourself to be Well
Remember the Basics - regular exercise, good nutrition and hydration, enough sleep are the basic essentials of wellbeing
Do Things You Love to do Regularly - for no reason other than they feel good, especially things involve other people
Social Support - nurture a few worthwhile friendships where there is mutual care, trust and respect
Positive Environment - aim to work in a positive environment where you play to your strengths and are appreciated, supported and valued
Health is Other People - if you feel rough, talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep it to yourself
Depression can be hard to spot because we wear a protective mask. It’s a lonely, isolated place.
Our greatest asset in spotting distress in others is empathy, allowing ourselves to feel what it feels like to be in someone else's shoes, without judgement. It’s an innate ability we all have.
You may notice changes in:
Cognitive Abilities - to remember, make decisions, focus, feel motivated
Mood - tearful, flat, agitated, pessimistic, hopeless, worthless
Behaviour - withdrawn, eating less or more, addictive patterns, slowed down, excess or poor sleep
You already have the skills it takes to reach out to someone you think may depressed:
Ask simple questions without judgement because you want to listen to the answer
Be honest, respectful and be yourself. This is a normal person like you or me
Don’t try to fix people, or offer advice. A simple gesture of kindness makes all the difference
Genuine care will never harm. Distance and judgement can
If you feel out of your depth, suggest the person seek expert help
For further advice and support on depression, or any other mental illness, the MIND website is a great source of knowledge and advice - http://www.mind.org.uk.
For more information on Dr B and her work, including her book, you can discover more on her website - http://drbarbaramariposa.com