Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Geoff Huegill triumphs over depression

Do you feel uncomfortable talking to a colleague about their mental wellbeing?

Why are we so fearful to ask someone if they are OK? Or to say that we notice that they seem a bit down and is there is something they'd like to talk to you about?

We don't hesitate if they have a sniffle, a limp or a black eye. But a concern about someone's mental state is often too hot to handle.

We usually tell ourselves that it is none of our business. Or "what if I open up a can of worms?"

Of course it's your amygdala talking, The Almond Effect, holding you back because it's feeling threatened about what a well meaning question might lead to.

Each year, undiagnosed depression in the workplace costs $4.3 billion in lost productivity and this excludes Workcover/insurance claims, part-time or casual employees, retrenchment, recruitment and training. 

In addition to absenteeism, depression accounts for more than 12 million days of reduced productivity each year. 

The World Health Organization expects Depression to be the second leading cause of disability after heart disease by 2020

But depression can be overcome. And you can play a part in that recovery by not being afraid to have the conversation.

This is all leading me to say warmest congratulations to Geoff Huegill who was awarded 2010 Sports Performer of the Year.

Geoff has experienced depression. He talks about it - a key strategy.

Another of his strategies to overcome depression was exercise - and his reward was to win the Gold Medal in the 100 metre butterfly at the Commonwealth Games and another in the 4 by 100m relay!

Geoff is an Ambassador for the Black Dog Institute, the same organisation for which I am a volunteer Community Education Presenter on Depression and Bipolar Disorder.

He also has a great smile (and abs!)

Don't let The Almond Effect stop you lending an ear to the 1 in 5 Australians who suffer, sometimes in a very lonely way, from this very common challenge. The person you talk to may not win a Commonwealth Gold Medal but be assured that they would want to give you one.

No comments: