Feeling blue? Talk to your GP
Published on 08 April 2011 05:00 PM
Age UK Publishes Key New Depression resource for Older People.
Age UK has launched a new interactive booklet called ‘Feeling Blue?' to provide help and guidance to people tackling depression in later life.
More than a quarter of people over 65 suffer from depression (1), but many don't get the help or treatment they need. Two thirds of older people with depression have never discussed it with their GP (2); some do not raise it because of the stigma attached to mental illness or because they feel that their GPs do not take them seriously. Many older people don't recognise that depression is a problem GPs can treat, or simply dismiss it as a ‘normal' part of ageing.
To help people overcome these barriers, the free ‘Feeling Blue?' booklet contains the stories of two women, Iris and Christine, who describe their experience of depression and how they were able to overcome the illness with the help of their GP.
Iris said: "I felt that I was a bad person because I had had thoughts. I didn't have the energy to go through another day. Sheila (an Age UK volunteer) explained to me that I have an illness and I should see a doctor. Sheila came with me to a GP surgery. I am now much better because the GP treated my depression."
In her equally moving story Christine narrates: "Three people who were important to me died within one year—my mum, my best friend and my partner. Everybody expected me to be strong and I was trying my best. I was saying to myself everyday: I can do it, I can do it. The Doctor said I had depression before I understood that that is what it was. She said it is OK if I can't cope and she helped me to get over this period."
The booklet also provides a guide to spotting the signs of depression and some useful tips about discussing depression with your GP. It also encourages people to write down the thoughts and behaviours that have been causing problems, questions to ask the GP and the advice the GP has given.
Age UK has also produced a life sized cardboard cut out of Christine to display the booklets. The charity is appealing to GP surgeries, community organisations, hospitals and libraries to display and distribute the booklets. Posters are also available. The booklet is also available to download at http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/depression-in-later-life-down-but-not-out/
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK said: "Depression affects over a quarter of over 65s, yet it can be an easily treatable illness that is often aggravated by the stigma attached to it. We hope this booklet will break down the barriers around depression and help people take steps to get the help they need. But to achieve this, we need your help to ensure the booklet gets to those people who need it. We appeal to GPs, health professionals and community organisations to order the booklet today."
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Notes to Editors
- Depression affects 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 or over (Health Survey for England 2005: Health of Older People, IC NHS 2007)
- UK Inquiry into Mental Health and Well-Being in Later Life
- How to order: simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us where you are emailing from, how many booklets and posters you need and whether you want a display unit.
- Images of the ‘Feeling Blue?' booklets and case studies are available, please contact the press office
- For more information about Age UK's depression campaign please contact Nicoleta Panta, Senior Campaigns Officer on 0208 765 7508
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).
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