Depression

Friday 15 October 2021

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Depression (major depressive disorder) is one of the most common mental health conditions in Australia[1].

Depression is more than just temporary sadness or low mood. It is a serious condition affecting feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Depression negatively impacts a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities and can interfere with the quality of their relationships.
 

Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe, and commonly include:

  • Sadness or depressed mood
  • Tearfulness
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities previously enjoyed
  • Loss of energy, tiredness or fatigue
  • Reduced motivation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Disrupted sleep patterns – trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Indecisiveness
  • Slowed movements or speech (severe enough to be noticed by others)
  • Increased restlessness or agitation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Not all these symptoms are required for a diagnosis of depression to be made. Symptoms of depression must be present most days for at least two weeks, cause distress and represent a significant change in previous level of functioning.

There are a range of effective treatment options out there for depression. If you, or something that you know is experiencing depressed mood, help is available.

  • Psychologists can diagnose and treat depression.
  • Speak with your GP to rule out an underlying health condition contributing to the symptoms of depression. A GP or other medical doctor might also be able to offer advice on whether medication could be of assistance.

 

The Solicitor Outreach Service – Help when you need it

The Solicitor Outreach Service (SOS) is an independent and confidential psychology counselling service for NSW solicitors.

NSW solicitors can call SOS on 1800 592 296 for access to:

  • Up to three counselling sessions with an SOS psychologist per financial year, paid for by the Law Society of NSW
  • 24/7 telephone crisis counselling with a psychologist.

The SOS psychologists are trained in the use of evidenced-based strategies to treat common mental health concerns, such as depression, and are also familiar with the challenges commonly faced by NSW solicitors.

If your or someone else’s life is in danger, phone 000 immediately.

The below articles might also be helpful:

Want to learn more about depression?

  • Australian Psychological Society – Information about depression here
  • Black Dog Institute – Resources and support for depression here
  • Centre for Clinical Interventions – Self-help resources for depression here

Miriam Wyzenbeek is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and the Law Society of NSW’s Wellbeing Manager. 

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National survey of mental health and wellbeing: Summary of results, 2007
[2] American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.