Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. Across the globe, over 300 million people now live with depression. This has increased by more than 18 per cent between 2005 and 2015.

The theme for this year’s World Health Day (organised by the World Health Organization) is depression. It’s a timely reminder that now, more than ever, people with depression need to be supported to seek and get help. 

In New Zealand one in five people live with a mental illness. We know depression doesn’t discriminate - it affects people of all ages and walks of life. It can range from mild symptoms that impact carrying out simple everyday tasks, to having devastating consequences for relationships with families, friends and workplaces. 

At its worst - depression can lead to suicide, which worldwide figures show as the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years. 

We know that depression can be prevented and treated. To increase the understanding of what depression is, we need to talk about it! This is how we can help decrease the stigma, which will hopefully lead to more people seeking help. Our purpose at Te Pou is to deliver services that empower and inspire our people working in mental health, addiction and disability services to make service users' lives better.

We have created tools like the Let's get talking toolkit to support talking therapies in services. But remember, it isn’t just about delivering psychological intervention in services. It’s also about us as individuals – reaching out to our friends, families and colleagues who need support. 

Let's talk

Talking therapies are an effective intervention to support people experiencing mental health and addiction issues. Last year Te Pou launched the Let’s get talking toolkit. This toolkit includes a suite of tools that support primary and secondary services to deliver effective talking therapies.

The tools are designed to ensure the right type and level of support and therapy is offered to people at the right time. 

The power of engagement

One of the key components of talking therapies is the ability to engage with people using your service. Te Pou has recently launched an e-learning module called He Whakapāpā, he oranga: Engaging for wellbeing which focuses on the essential values, skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to enable effective relationship building.

Intervening early – primary mental health and addiction

Last year Te Pou had the pleasure of working with Manaia Primary Health Organisation in Northland to trial a brief intervention resource. The aim was to develop something for GPs and practice nurses to use when people presented with early and mild mental health and addiction issues, including stress and grief.

The resource is designed to link people with resources and a person (such as a practice nurse or GP) to assist them to self-manage mental health and/or addiction concerns.

This is a new way of working, but the parties involved have made it successful. One of the key outcomes is increased staff confidence in addressing mental health and addiction issues. Te Pou is currently finalising the resource following the evaluation, and will have this available on our website soon.