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Don't suffer with depression in silence

Posted on 7 Apr 2017

People across North Ayrshire who suffer from mental ill health are being urged to speak out.

This year’s World Health Day – on Friday, 7 April – will focus on depression and urge those with the frightening, debilitating condition to talk.

Depression can affect anyone at any age, from all walks of life. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends. At its worst, it can lead to suicide.

The World Health Day campaign – called Depression: Let’s Talk - encourages us all to find out more and reduce the stigma of depression and encourage people to seek help. The important first step is talking to someone you trust.

North Ayrshire’s Choose Life Partnership is supporting the campaign message.

Thelma Bowers, Head of Service for Mental Health at North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership, said recognising depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

She added: “You know when someone close to you isn’t quite themselves.

“If you notice any changes in their behaviour that worry you - even if the signs come and go - ask them about it. Encourage them to visit and talk to their GP or approach one of the organisations who specialise in offering help.

“Talking can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them, and often gives a sense of perspective.

“Starting a conversation is half the battle. You don’t need to have an answer to their problems - just be there for them, try to listen carefully without judging, and show that you care.”

Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable.

North Ayrshire has a partnership approach to tackling mental ill health and suicide prevention. North Ayrshire Choose Life, which sits within the Health & Social Care Partnership, works as part of a new Pan-Ayrshire Choose Life Strategic Partnership alongside colleagues across East and South Ayrshire, NHS Ayrshire and Arran as well as the Police and voluntary organisations.

Over the past year, more than 25 training and awareness events have been held across North Ayrshire, promoting information and guidance to help individuals respond to help prevent suicide. There were also 11 SafeTalk training sessions delivered in North Ayrshire alone, reaching almost 200 people from a range of community and other organisations.

In the run-up to World Health Day on 7 April, North Ayrshire Choose Life whas been distributing posters and fact sheets about depression across community centres and health clinics as well as in social service offices and council premises. Information will also be posted on the council website.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please talk.

If you are in distress and need to speak to someone phone Samaritans  on 116 123 or Breathing Space 0800 838 587.

 You can also call Living Life, a free, confidential phone line on 0800 328 9655 or NHS24 on 111.

There are also a range of websites packed full of information including,,, or

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