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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
Website to help ease depression
Stressed man
Too many people with depression suffer in silence, according to DAS
A campaign and website have been launched in Scotland to coincide with the start of National Depression Week.

Depression Alliance Scotland (DAS) said the stigma attached to the illness made it difficult for people to seek help.

Illena Day, DAS co-ordinator, said the 'Mother, father...' campaign aimed to show anyone including family and friends could suffer from depression.

About 321,000 people with depression in Scotland consulted their GP last year, with concerns more cases go unreported.

One in five people living in Scotland are expected to suffer from depression at some stage in their lives, DAS said.

Symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, self-hatred, guilt, agitation and weight loss.

Generally speaking, depression is seen as an illness which affects other people
Illena Day

The 'Mother, father...' campaign will attempt to challenge negative perceptions about the condition.

Mrs Day said depression was a common illness, but unlike asthma or diabetes, there was a stigma attached to it which prevented many sufferers from seeking help.

'Suffer in silence'

"Generally speaking, depression is seen as an illness which affects other people and is an illness that people find difficult to talk openly about, mush as previous generations found it difficult to discuss cancer," she said.

"The 'Mother, father...' campaign seeks to change this by focusing on the fact that any of us, including our families, close friends and ourselves can become depressed, that there's nothing to be ashamed about and that there's no need to suffer in silence.

"People can, and do improve their quality of life with the appropriate treatment.

"The first step, however, is recognising that you may be depressed and seeking help."

'Listen to them'

SNP South of Scotland MSP Adam Ingram, who chairs Holyrood's cross-party group on mental health, gave his support to the campaign.

"The statistics tell us that depression is the most common reason for people seeking help from their GPs," he said.

"In the past this has resulted too often in a prescription, whereas most people need to talk through what is causing their depression. They need someone to listen to them."

Gregor Henderson, director of the Scottish Executive's programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being, said people with depression needed to know what services were available.

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