Taking on depression
Taking on depression
Guest speaker: Psychologist, Dr Saneth Dreyer
Depression is a real challenge amongst many people and some feel too embarrassed and/or ashamed to admit their ongoing struggle. People feel that admitting they are struggling will be an admission of weakness and that they will be judged by others for seeking help. Stress plays a major role in depression and people working in higher education are vulnerable to occupational stress.
Psychologist, Dr Saneth Dreyer was one for the speakers and gave her input on the topic. Dr Dreyer, was a former Student Counsellor at VUT is knowledgeable about the dynamics of VUT, its people and is an expert on identifying symptoms of depression.
She highlighted 13 symptoms to look out for, namely: insomnia, low energy levels, feeling inadequate, decrease of productivity, decrease in concentration, social withdrawal, loss of interest, irritability or excessive anger, lack of response, less active, pessimistic attitude, crying for no reason and recurring thoughts of suicide.
She explained that if a person goes through three or more of these symptoms, and they are continuous for more than two weeks they should seek help immediately.
High levels of stress and burnout, as well as being a victim of abuse can all lead to depression which can have a negative effect on a person’s health and can cause cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and suicidal thoughts. In order to manage depression, a person should seek help and not underestimate how much people care.
Mr George van Schalkwyk, a counsellor from Lifeline, was also in attendance sharing that the organisation offers personal growth courses, counselling, training and skills development as well as a shelter for abused women, amongst other services.
When counselling someone he said he needed to establish their state of mind, how they are feeling and thinking so they can get to a point where they can say: “This is where I am, why am I here?” and from there healing can start taking place.
He explained that doing cardio exercises for 30 minutes a day has a number of benefits; it kick-starts your metabolism, gives you quality sleep and it is a natural mood balancer. However, the first step to dealing with depression is awareness and once a person accepts that they are facing problems and cannot handle it alone they should seek help.