Beware – depression may run in your family

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DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill

Did you know that up to 20% of people in the UK experience symptoms of depression?

Almost 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression – with more than 8,000 of them younger than 10.

Most young people experience ups and down and occasionally will feel down or upset by certain things going on in their lives. But some young people feel sad, lonely, down, anxious or stressed for longer periods of time – to the extent that it can affect their everyday lives and can prevent that young person from doing things they would normally do.

South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the GP-led organisation that funds local health services, is backing Depression Awareness Week. Dr Kevin Hill, Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG, said: “Depression can be caused by a reaction to something in your life such as abuse, family breakdown or bullying. Depression may run in your family and be caused by genetic factors or it may be that you are under a lot of stress and feel you have a lack of support. It’s not the same as manic depression which is another term for bipolar disorder where people experience extreme highs and lows.

“Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can ‘snap out of’ by ‘pulling yourself together’. Depression is easy to treat if you get help for it. You should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible or call NHS 111. They will be able to help you and offer some form of treatment. Most people with depression improve with good care.”

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. They can offer extensive support and information for children and young people with depression and their parents. All of it can be explored at http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Their campaigning web site for children and young people is http://www.youngmindsvs.org.uk which focuses on depression and other issues under the banner of YoungMinds versus.