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Saturday 11 April 2015

A letter from the Mental Health Foundation

Posted in: Living Well, Features
By Judi Clements - 21st September 2010

Judi Clements, Mental Health Foundation chief executive
We read Michael Stevens' The Gay Blade blog entitledCan We Talk? with great interest. Mr Stevens raised a number of points including "the generally poor state of gay men's mental and emotional health", the reluctance to address the issues and the prevalence of suicide amongst the gay community.

All of the above are concerns that are not exclusive to the GLBTI community and are issues that we at the Mental Health Foundation are continually working towards improving.

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness. In New Zealand, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience depression at some point in their lives and it is not something you can just "snap out of".

There is no single cause of depression. It can come from nowhere or be triggered by life events like the death of a loved one, stress at work, relationship problems, financial stress, traumatic events and discrimination.

It's important to recognise these signs so that you, or someone you care about, can do something about it. The earlier people take steps to look after their mental health, if they are struggling, the earlier they will start to feel better.

Signs of depression can include:

· Feelings of sadness that don't go away

· Persistent low mood or emotional numbness

· Losing interest and pleasure in your usual activities

· Crying for no apparent reason

· Feelings of irritability

· Excessive anxiety, agitation or worry

· Changes in your sleeping or eating patterns

· Loss of energy, lethargy, extreme tiredness or fatigue

· Lack of motivation

· Reduced interest in sex

· Feeling worthless or hopeless

· Feeling guilty for no reason

· Poor concentration and forgetfulness

· Suicidal thoughts

Talking about your feelings with your GP or a person you trust can be the first step towards recovery. People who experience depression do get better and can make a full recovery.

The Mental Health Foundation endeavours to work across all sectors of society and two recent projects that have seen us working closely with individuals in the GLBTI community are sponsoring the Sportsperson of the Year award at OurFest and supporting Gareth Watkins media project in which he is creating a series of five digital stories around mental health issues in the lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex community.

Another arm of the Mental Health Foundation is Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (SPINZ). SPINZ is a national information service providing high quality information and resources to promote safe and effective suicide prevention activities.

For further information about the Mental Health Foundation, SPINZ or the resources we have available please visit the Mental Health Foundation's website.

Yours faithfully,

Judi Clements
Chief Executive
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Judi Clements - 21st September 2010

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