Depression is a very serious illness that affects an estimated 1 million plus Australians and over 250,000 New Zealanders at any given time. Symptoms of depression can appear differently in different people, but some typical symptoms include a loss of interest in activities; changes in appetite, weight or sleep; difficulty concentrating on daily tasks; or feelings of anxiety, guilt or worthlessness. While in recent years it has become more common to speak openly about the disorder and its impact, it remains a sensitive subject and many people still shy away from speaking about it to others. If you or someone you’re close to is showing signs of depression, it’s very important that you speak with a physician. You might consider completing (or asking the person you care for to complete) a Patient Health Questionnaire before your appointment, or the doctor may ask that this questionnaire or a similar screening tool be completed during the visit. You may also wish to write down in advance how to describe recent feelings and events, or a list of questions you wish to ask while you are meeting with the physician.
- 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Accessed 10/2/2017.
- 2. Wells EJ. Te Rau Hinengaro: New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Aus & NZ J Psych 2006; 40:845–854. Accessed 10/2/2017.