Three ways for Hongkongers to deal with depression

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 5:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 9:16pm

Depression is a mental condition affecting a large portion of the population of Hong Kong, regardless of their backgrounds (“Depression running at record high, survey finds”, January 20).

Students, teachers, and blue- and white-collar workers alike may suffer from varying degrees of depression arising from pressure, which can lead to suicidal thoughts.

In fact, the past few years have witnessed an increase in the number of suicides among students, and workers in some sectors. What should people do to fight depression? There are at least three ways to deal with the condition.

First, one needs to maintain excellent social relationships. It has been observed that people with strong mental and emotional support from close friends and family members have a lower chance of developing depression.

This solid support system makes them feel able to face any life struggle, while relieving their mental burden and emotional pressures.

Friends and family also play a significant role in noticing the early signs of depression and so provide timely intervention.

Second, seeking help early increases the likelihood of full recovery from depression.

Timely professional intervention is the key to rooting out the condition. Mental-health doctors offer professional assessment, effective medication and well-planned rehabilitation to help patients battling negative feelings.

However, people who suspect they may be suffering from the condition may still sometimes refuse to seek help, given the social stigma attached to mental patients. But they would be putting themselves at risk mentally, emotionally and physically if they delay treatment. To ensure a speedy recovery, they should make an appointment with a practitioner early.

Last but not least, patients with depression would benefit if they developed a hobby. For instance, exercising is a good way to put one’s mind at ease and lift one’s mood.

Working up a sweat not only benefits one’s physical health, but has also been proven to improve mental health. Exercise allows people to temporarily forget the daily pressures and focus on the physical task at hand. It also boosts their immune system.

If exercise involves playing team sports, this helps expand one’s social circle, which again facilitates recovery.

Engaging in meaningful interaction with others when doing sports paves the way for seamless integration into an active and meaningful social life.

Jason Tang, Tin Shui Wai