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Tag Archives: Depression

The efficacy of a text messaging intervention for anxiety and depression among young people

One of Engage Aotearoa’s recovery resources, the Small Victories challenge, was included in the pilot of a text-messaging programme for young people with depression and anxiety at Youthline. The results of the evaluation were published last year in the Children and Youth Services Review.

Abstract
Background: Depression and anxiety are among the most commonly experienced mental health issues faced by young people in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Considerable barriers exist that prevent young people from engaging with face-to-face mental health services. Young people’s preference for technology-based counselling mediums such as text messaging opens up new pathways for intervention. Objective: A pilot text message-based intervention package was trialed for use by young people to evaluate the potential efficacy of the text package as an intervention for depression and anxiety symptoms.
Method: The text package was piloted using a 10-week longitudinal cohort pilot with 21 young participants (12– 24 years) who demonstrated mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression symptoms.
Results: Participants’ post-package scores were significantly lower than their pre-package scores for both anxiety (Z = −2.83, p = .005, r = −0.65) and depression (Z = −2.49, p = .013, r = −.056). ‘Feeling encouraged and supported’ increased as a result of receiving support from a trained supporter (Z = −2.06, p = .039, r = −0.45), but not from friends/family (Z = −1.72, p = .130, r = −0.37). Anxiety and depression scores did not change as a result of support from either trained supporters or friends/family.
Conclusions: Findings support the potential efficacy of the text package, justify wider trials of the text package, and support the use of text message-based interventions as potentially effective therapies for young people.

Read the full-text article by David Anstiss and Amber Davies here.

5 things I learned about coping with depression in my teens

RecoveryNotes_WebImage

Five things I learned about coping with depression as a teenager

Recovery Note #4

~ Emma Edwards


1. It’s okay to not be okay

It is not a weakness to experience depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress as a teenager. It is quite common! Society tells us that we should look and behave in certain ways, and that we have to fit a certain stereotype in order to simply be accepted. I didn’t think it was okay to be struggling with depression when I was a teenager. I thought it meant I was weak and worthless. But admitting that I was not okay and that I did not know who I was took me on a journey of incredible discovery. I came out the other end of the dark tunnel with strength, purpose, and value for my life. I wouldn’t change a thing.

2. Connection is the key

It is incredibly lonely when experiencing depression – and I almost think it is more lonely when you experience depression as a teenager, during the life-stage in which you are trying to figure out how and where you fit in the world. At a time in your life when you are trying to fit in, you fall into a dark hole that isolates you – giving you no opportunity to find your place in the world. I isolated myself and was anxious to interact with anyone. However, the most useful thing for me was the one thing I did not want to do – it was to spend time with friends, family, and people who understood what I was going through.

 

“When you are at the bottom of the dark hole, it feels like every movement causes you to fall deeper. It is extremely difficult to see that each step actually takes you closer to the light of day.”

 

3. Asking for help actually helps!

Looking back, I had friends around me going through similar struggles, and I wanted them to be honest, ask for help, and let me support them. I saw them as courageous when they confronted their fears, darkness, and failures head-on. I learned that it takes more courage to be vulnerable, ask for help, and accept others’ support than it does to wrestle alone in the dark. I learned that friends, family, and professionals actually wanted to help me. Each time that I reached outside of myself and asked for help, my burden was lightened a little bit because it was shared with another. Even if the problem was not solved by the other person, at least I felt more understood, more loved, and less alone.

4. Balance between trust and supervision

I am sure my adolescent self would not admit this, but I’ve learned from looking back at my experience that it was helpful to have a balance of trust and supervision from my parents. I think this balance is largely determined by what is safe for us. As I built up trust with my parents, the amount of supervision I needed decreased. I found that, as my parents trusted me more, I learned to trust myself more – giving me confidence in myself. From my view, the helpful parent provides love, encouragement, support, practical help, and compassionate supervision.Blaming, minimising, or not being taken seriously are not helpful. Being listened to, provided with appropriate help, and shown compassion are essential.

5. It is never the end

There is always hope. I know clichés like “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” often don’t provide much reassurance at the time, but it turns out they are actually true. When you are at the bottom of the dark hole, it feels like every movement causes you to fall deeper. It is extremely difficult to see that each step actually takes you closer to the light of day. But others can see it. Others can see the bigger picture because they are not in the dark hole with you. In these times, when all hope seems to have escaped you – I learned that I could rely on at least one person around me to hold the hope for me. When I could not see it, they could. When I could not believe, they believed. They held my hope, and gave it back to me when I could hold it again. It is never the end. There is always hope.

 

Emma Edwards
Treasurer, Community Mental-Health Resources Trust

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About the author: Emma Edwards is currently completing her doctorate degree. She was previously a registered mental-health professional, working in youth and adult mental-health settings. Her own service-user and family experience with mental-health struggles sparked her passion to support others and make a difference to those struggling to cope with difficult times.

Read more Recovery Notes here

Recovery Notes is an Engage Aotearoa project that asks people to share the top five tips and insights they have learned from or about their personal experiences of mental-health recovery or being a supporter.

Write your own Recovery Note

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Copyright (c) Engage Aotearoa, 2014

 

5 things I’ve learned about surviving my darkest struggles

RecoveryNotes_WebImage
Five things I’ve learned about surviving my darkest struggles

Recovery Note #3

~ Taimi Allan


1. De-claw the Bear

Talking about the most difficult stuff (the unwanted thoughts, the frightening images, fears, guilt and panic) takes their power away. These things are waking nightmares designed by my brain to purge the rubbish and if I don’t find a way to let them out and dispose of them they become a self-destruct mechanism. Speaking them aloud to someone empathetic and non-judgmental I can trust helps me to challenge their hold on me, come up with more balanced perspectives and talk through cause and solution.

2. Look for physical and environmental causes

Sure there are some moments where my distress/depression/mania/psychosis is an equal and opposite reaction to an external, significant, negative event; those moments are really tough and life feels very unfair. The upside of horrible things happening to me though is that it’s easy to see why my brain is in meltdown, and get support and empathy from others. Sometimes, however, it just hits me like a sledge hammer from seemingly out of the blue. In these times my experience tells me there is usually a physical cause, maybe my hormones have gone haywire, I’ve developed a food allergy, eaten unhealthily for too long (or not eaten at all) or typically, I’ve not had enough sleep. I know now that if I address the physical stuff, nurture my temple then my mental health follows.

3. Avoid the Sirens-song of Substances

We all know the myths of sailors lured by beautiful Siren song only to become shipwrecked on the rocks. It is very easy in my darkest moments to reach out for the easiest means of escape. “Self medication” for me nowadays is junk food and wine. In my darkest moments it is tempting to use them, or something more destructive as a quick way of blocking out, avoiding or putting off dealing with what’s really going on. I learned the hard way that even taking a single step in this direction when I’m unwell is bad, bad news. As difficult as it is, I need to remove the temptation completely from my home, my friendships and my life until the moment has passed and I feel in control enough to simply eat respectfully and drink in moderation.

4. Observe moments of choice

Mental distress is like a pot-bellied stove, it gets stronger by feeding on every little piece of negativity and fear and yet it is warm and inviting. It is easy to fall into the comfort of distress, it sounds contradictory but life IS unfair and horrible so sometimes the only thing I really want to do is escape under the bed-covers, take a respite from responsibility and shut out the world. In every single millisecond however I know I have a choice to turn that around. I forgive myself for needing a moment to wallow, then as soon as I notice the moment that don’t have to punish myself or anyone else, I make the conscious choice to do something different.

5. Take responsibility

Here’s the truth as I see it for me; it is not the rest of the world, the people around me, services, doctors or pharmaceuticals job to ‘cure’ or ‘fix’ me. They are helpful aides when I need support, but without my buy-in, they actually don’t have much effect. In fact, if I blame anyone or anything outside of myself I know the situation very quickly deteriorates. That doesn’t mean I need to blame myself, but adopting a radical acceptance of the situation I’ve found myself in and a willingness to do everything I can to improve it gives me back some semblance of control. It’s fair to say that when I’m at my worst, I feel completely out of control, so this step towards autonomy is imperative to becoming whole again.

 

~ Taimi Allan
Chairperson, Community Mental-Health Resources Trust

 

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About the author: Taimi Allan is chairperson of CMHRT and has worked as a mental health consultant since 2009. She is most well known in the field for innovative and engaging health promotion strategies that challenge attitudes, inspire creativity and entertain audiences.

Read more Recovery Notes here 

Recovery Notes is an Engage Aotearoa project that asks people to share the top five tips and insights they have learned from or about their personal experiences of mental-health recovery or being a supporter.

Write your own Recovery Note

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Copyright (c) Engage Aotearoa, 2014

Research Articles from the BMC Psychiatry Journal

Here are some Research Articles from the BMC Psychiatry Journal:

Personality dimensions of schizophrenia patients compared to control subjects by gender and the relationship with illness severity

Miralles C, Alonso Y, Verge B, Setó S, Gaviria AM, Moreno L, Cortés MJ, Gutiérrez-Zotes A, Vilella E, Martorell L

BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14 :151 (24 May 2014)

Abstract | Provisional PDF

Suicide and suicide attempts in people with severe mental disorders in Butajira, Ethiopia: 10 year follow-up of a population-based cohort

Shibre T, Hanlon C, Medhin G, Alem A, Kebede D, Teferra S, Kullgren G, Jacobsson L, Fekadu A

BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14 :150 (23 May 2014)

Abstract | Provisional PDF

Why alternative teenagers self-harm: exploring the link between non-suicidal self-injury, attempted suicide and adolescent identity

Young R, Sproeber N, Groschwitz RC, Preiss M, Plener PL

BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14 :137 (22 May 2014)

Abstract | Provisional PDF

A comparison of the characteristics of suicide attempters with and without psychiatric consultation before their suicidal behaviours: a cross-sectional study

Harada K, Eto N, Honda Y, Kawano N, Ogushi Y, Matsuo M, Nishimura R

BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14 :146 (21 May 2014)

Abstract | Full text | PDF

Gender differences in suicide attempters: a retrospective study of precipitating factors for suicide attempts at a critical emergency unit in Japan

Narishige R, Kawashima Y, Otaka Y, Saito T, Okubo Y

BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14 :144 (19 May 2014)

Abstract | Full text | PDF

Provision of group psychoeducation for relatives of persons in inpatient depression treatment – a cross-sectional survey of acute care hospitals in Germany

Frank F, Rummel-Kluge C, Berger M, Bitzer EM, Hölzel LP

BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14 :143 (19 May 2014)

Abstract | Full text | PDF

Recent highlights from Engage Aotearoa’s Facebook page

Here are some recent highlights from Engage Aotearoa’s Facebook page:

The Embassy of France has launched a call for applications to young New Zealanders to apply for a fantastic mobility programme in Paris centered on the theme of human rights and liberties.
The king of comedy comes clean with his drug and alcohol addictions.
Because I’m open about my depression, I get a lot of emails from people who are worried about a loved one who is struggling…
Did your high school sex ed class skip over this one hugely important detail? An article on consent.
This might resonate with some people.

Updates from the Engage Facebook Page

Stay: The Social Contagion of Suicide and How to Preempt It. “We are indebted to one another and the debt is a kind of faith — a beautiful, difficult, strange faith. We believe each other into being.”
Suicide: Facts and Myths – Square.  Suicide is a major public health problem in Australia. About 2300 Australians take their own lives each year. This website has some great info.
http://www.planetaudio.org.nz/ Take It From Us, PlanetFM 104.6 Tuesday @ 12.30pm.
Navigating the Mental Health Wilderness: Steven Morgan’s Journey – Mad In America. Steven Morgan discusses his transformative journey from chronic “patient” to leading mental health advocate.
Addiction is not an Illness. I don’t see addiction as an illness. But some of the things we choose as an addiction are far more physically and emotionally destructive than others.
Have You Ever Taken Antipsychotic Medication? If this sounds like you or someone you know pop along to www.teamstudy.co.nz for more info – you’ll find everything you need there.
10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression. I have struggled with clinical depression since I was a child. It has been a constant companion I have learned to manage and while I am better now than I have ever been, every so often I feel it returning.

National Depression Initiative Seeks Rural Men to Share Stories of Recovery from Depression

The National Depression Initiative (NDI) is undertaking a new project around rural mental health.

They want to make a new series of videos for depression.org.nz, and are looking for farmers who have come through a depression journey and are prepared to tell their story.

If you (or someone you know) are male, aged 24 to 65, a farmer of any kind, and would be willing to share, please contact Belinda Moss

  • b.moss@hpa.org.nz
  • 04 9170513 (office hours)

Mike King Korero Goes to Kawakawa 7 May 2013

Engage Aotearoa and Key to Life Charitable Trust will be taking the Mike King Korero to Kawakawa on the 7th of May for two sessions at Bay of Islands College. In the morning, students at Bay of Islands College will get the chance to take part in the Cool to Korero seminar that aims to encourage students to talk about their problems with people they trust before things get on top of them. In the evening, community members will be able to take part in the Community Korero to discuss how to help prevent suicide in their town.

Click here to read about the Whangarei Community Korero that took place on the 9th of April and made the front page of the Northern Advocate.

Click here to check out photos and feedback from the Whangarei Korero.

CoolToKoreroPoster_Kawakawa_V1

CommunityKoreroPoster_Kawakawa_V2

 

New Research out from BMC Psychiatry in Feb 2013

Research article
Childhood clumsiness and peer victimization: a case–control study of psychiatric patients
Bejerot S, Humble MB

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:68 (25 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article
A case-linkage study of crime victimisation in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders over a period of deinstitutionalisation
Short TB, Thomas S, Luebbers S, Mullen P, Ogloff JR

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:66 (20 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

* This study reports an increase in crime victimisation by people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders since services were moved to the community. It is the opinion of Engage Aotearoa that violence by people who are unwell is often due to a lack of responsive services and appropriate supports, rather than the mental-health condition itself. Stressed out family members and friends are not always the most appropriate supporters when things have reached crisis point. Voluntary respite services are highly restricted in accessibility. The current NZ system requires that someone has become a risk to themselves or others before acute services are provided. Crisis Team response times are renowned for being too long. This all creates space for escalation and victimisation before treatment and support can be accessed. This is a complex issue that extends well beyond mental-health problems themselves and reaches into the core of how we as a society support those who are experiencing a mental-health crisis.   

Research article
Antipsychotic medications and cognitive functioning in bipolar disorder: moderating effects of COMT Val108/158 Met genotype
Arts B, Simons CJ, Drukker M, van Os J

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:63 (19 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

*Note: The results of this gene-environment study, if replicated, may partly explain why people with the same diagnosis can respond very differently to the same antipsychotic medication.

Research article
A 6-month randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of a lifestyle intervention for weight gain management in schizophrenia
Attux C, Martini LC, Elkis H, Tamai S, Freirias A, Camargo Md, Mateus MD, Mari Jd, Reis AF, Bressan RA

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:60 (18 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

*Note: Weight management strategies are important interventions for addressing a common side-effect of many anti-psychotic and some antidepressant medications. However, in the opinion of Engage Aotearoa, this article de-emphasises the role of medications in the weight-gain of people with schizophrenia diagnoses and incorrectly implies it is a direct consequence of the mental-health problem itself, when it is not. 

Research article
Perception of depressive symptoms by the Sardinian public: results of a population study
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:57 (16 February 2013)
[
Provisional PDF]

*Note: These results show that the public sees a difference between depression as a response to loss (‘a normal response’) and clinical depression requiring professional attention.  In the opinion of Engage Aotearoa, the public (and the authors) appear to assume that diagnosable mental-health problems are not normal responses’. This is an attitude that likely contributes to stigma about depression. Unfortunately this article does not acknowledge that clinical depression is indeed a normal response that can usually also be traced to previous difficult experiences. 

Research article
Substance use among inmates at the Eldoret prison in Western Kenya
Kinyanjui DW, Atwoli L

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:53 (13 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article
Is virtual reality always an effective stressors for exposure treatments? Some insights from a controlled trial
Pallavicini F, Cipresso P, Raspelli S, Grassi A, Serino S, Vigna C, Triberti S, Villamira M, Gaggioli A, Riva G

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:52 (11 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article
Residual symptoms and functioning in depression: does the type of residual symptom matter? a post-hoc analysis
Romera I, Pérez V, Ciudad A, Caballero L, Roca M, Polavieja P, Gilaberte I

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:51 (11 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article
CBT for depression: a pilot RCT comparing mobile phone vs. computer
Watts S, Mackenzie A, Thomas C, Griskaitis A, Mewton L, Williams A, Andrews G

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:49 (7 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article
Influence of personal and environmental factors on mental health in a sample of Austrian survivors of World War II with regard to PTSD: is it resilience?
Tran US, Glück TM, Lueger-Schuster B

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:47 (4 February 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

*Note: This research suggests a humorous and challenge-focused attitude to stress and trauma is associated with resilience to PTSD. Environmental elements showed associations with resilience to PTSD symptoms. The authors conclude the socio-environmental factors are simply consequences of PTSD symptoms. However, it is also possible that these factors are directly contributing to the symptoms and that resolving them would improve resilience to PTSD. 

Research on Mental-Health Effects of Computer Use

Research article
Computer use and stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression among young adults — a prospective cohort study
Thomée S, Härenstam A, Hagberg M

BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:176 (22 October 2012)
[Abstract] [Provisional PDF]