Have you or your loved one experienced difficulties with depression and anxiety? Are you aware of some of the signs: unable to remember things or concentrate; find it difficult to sleep or sleeping too much; feeling tired all the time; no energy or emotion about anything; avoiding activities you usually enjoy; feeling tearful, agitated, hopeless, maybe even suicidal “I wish I were not alive!” These are difficult feelings to cope with and they can hugely impact your daily life.
People who suffer from physical illnesses will often seek help from a doctor but people who suffer from mental health issues , such as depression and anxiety, may not know what is going on and may not know what to do with these difficult feelings. People may also be worried about the stigma attached to mental health issues.
You and your loved one however does not need to suffer in silence or alone. There is help and those who seek treatment can begin to feel better.
Between November 2010 and May 2013, in collaboration of the Health and Health Services Research Fund, Food and Health Bureau, and Hong Kong SAR Government, a group of researchers conducted the very first territory-wide epidemiological survey of mental health data in Hong Kong – Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey (HKMMS). A total of 5,719 Chinese adults between ages of 16 and 75 in the general Hong Kong population participated in the survey. The results showed that 1 in 14 participants met the diagnostic criteria of the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), for mixed anxiety and depressive disorder (MADD).1
The prevalence rate is comparable with the rate of mood disorders in China and western countries. However, among those who met the criteria for MADD, only about 16% sought mental health treatment during the year prior to when the survey was conducted1.
There are many reasons why individuals suffer from depression and anxiety. It can be a combination of several factors that include genetic make-up, chemical imbalance, psychosocial history, trauma, and stress. The most common way to treat depression is by means of therapy and in some case medication and/or both.
In a recent study conducted by the National Health Service (NHS) of United Kingdom, data was collected from 19,395 patients who met criteria for clinical depression and anxiety. For those who completed at least two sessions of therapy and received at least two outcomes scores, 40.3% of them were reliably recovered at post-treatment, and 63.7% of them showed reliable improvement.2 The results are consistent with studies dating from early 2000s, which demonstrated that various forms of psychotherapy are effective for treatment of depression and anxiety.
Seeking help is a positive step in dealing with what is going on. There are no hard or fast rules when to seek help but for anyone who is experiencing depression for more than a couple of weeks and their basic functioning is being impaired, it would be good idea to reach out for help. For anyone who thinks they are clinically depressed, it is vital to seek help immediately and quite possibly involve emergency services. The important thing to remember, is you can feel better, you can have a life of hope and joy and you do not need to suffer in silence or be alone. Help is out there.
About Dr. Mok-Lammé
Dr. Christine Mok-Lammé (Ph.D.) is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Colorado, U.S.A., and a member of Hong Kong Psychological Society and American Psychological Association.She resides in Western Colorado but spends 3 months a year in Hong Kong. She provides psychotherapy in person while she and the client are in the same location. She offers continuity of care through video-conferencing if clients choose to utilize this platform of psychotherapy.
- Prevalence, psychosocial correlates and service utilization of depressive and anxiety disorders in Hong Kong: the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey (HKMMS). Lam, Linda Chiu-wa; Wong, Corine Sau-man; Wang, Min-jung; Chan, Wai-chi; Chen, Eric Yu-hai; et al. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology; Heidelberg 50.9 (Sep 2015): 1379-1388.
- Gyani, A., Shafran, R., Layard, R., & Clark, D. M. (2013). Enhancing recovery rates: Lessons from year one of IAPT. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51(9), 597–606.