06

Dec 2009

Survey: Nearly Half of All Kiwis Affected by Mental Illness

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MEDIA RELEASE

According to latest research conducted on behalf of mens health charity Movember by Auckland public relations agency Impact PR – nearly half of all Kiwis have been in some way affected by mental illness.

movemberIt is one of society’s most delicate issues, but research released today shows that nearly half of all Kiwis have in some way been affected by mental illness

The independent study was commissioned by Movember, a charity which encourages men to grow moustaches during November to help raise awareness and funds in support of men’s health.

Money raised by Movember will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ for its ‘Out of the Blue’ depression awareness campaign and to the Cancer Society of New Zealand in support of prostate cancer.

Five hundred men and women were interviewed as part of the nationwide study with 48 percent saying they had personally experienced mental illness or that a family member or someone they knew had.

The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, Judi Clements says depression is a serious issue with 1 in 6 New Zealanders experiencing it in their lifetime, and the World Health Organisation predicting that by 2020 depression will be the second major health issue worldwide following cardiovascular disease.

Clements says the term ‘depression’ is used to describe a range of feelings from ‘having the blues’ or ‘feeling a bit down’ to acute and ongoing unhappiness. It can start anytime – from childhood through to old age – and can disrupt someone’s ability to enjoy everyday activities.

“It is important to remember though, that most people can and do recover from depression when they get help, and the earlier the better,” says Clements. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be clinical help, support from family and friends can make all the difference.”

The Clinical Director of Procare Primary Mental Health Programme, psychiatrist Dr David Codyre, says depression is highly treatable but if not addressed can have devastating consequences.

Dr Codyre says men tend to be late ‘help-seekers’ in the face of evolving health problems, including mental health issues.

“In part, it is the general male tendency to ignore their health, the ‘macho’ tough it out thing, and also the fear of being seen as weak. For depression in particular the problem is that many men don’t have a good understanding of what it actually is,” says Dr Codyre.

Signs of depression can include feelings of sadness that don’t go away, and losing interest and pleasure in usual activities, he says. Irritable mood can also be the main obvious change particularly in men

Excessive anxiety, agitation or worry, changes in energy levels, eating or sleeping patterns, feeling worthless or hopeless and suicidal thoughts are also common symptoms, he says.

“If a person is experiencing any of these things for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of depression and they should get assistance.

“GPs are the best first port of call for seeking professional help as all primary care organisations now have mental health programmes including funded access to therapy,” he says.

For more information about depression or about getting help or advice contact your GP or Health Line on 0800 611 116. You can also visit www.mentalhealth.org.nz or www.movember.co.nz

Written on behalf of Movember by Impact PR

Notes to editor:

The Survey
The survey was commissioned by Movember and conducted by Consumer Link (a division of Colmar Brunton) in New Zealand. Five hundred male and female respondents were interviewed nationwide.

About Movember
Movember (the month formerly known as November) is an annual, month-long charity men’s health charity event that raises money for Cancer Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation. At the start of Movember, men register with a clean shaven face and have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache, raising as much money and awareness as possible to benefit men’s health.

Movember culminates at the end of the month at official Gala Parties in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch – the highlight of any Mo Bro’s and Mo Sista’s social calendar. Every Mo Bro has a chance to win the coveted ‘Man of Movember’ title.

2008 figures
Number of participants: 13,000
Amount of money raised: $927,000

WHO on depression
http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/definition/en/

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
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