Beyond Blue – Depression in people who are deaf or hard of hearing

What is beyondblue and what does it mean?
Beyondblue is a national, independent organisation working to address issues associated with
depression, anxiety, and related substance misuse disorder. The name beyondblue is created
by joining two words that express the aims of this organisation; blue which can also
mean depressed, upset, and sad; and, of course, beyond focuses on the times after depression.
Therefore, the organisation is appropriately named beyondblue. What is depression? The word depression is often thought to mean sadness or a low mood.
However, depression is more than just a low mood. It’s a serious illness. While everyone
feels sad, irritable, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings
intensely for a long period of time and often without any obvious reason. People find it
hard to function every day and may be reluctant to participate in activities they once enjoyed.
Depression is very common. In Australia, around 1 million adults live with depression. On
average, 20% of Australians will experience depression throughout their lifetime. Do you have depression? How would you know? A person may be depressed if for more than
two weeks, they have felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, lost interest or pleasure
in most of their usual activities, and experience symptoms in at least three of the following
four categories. The first category is feelings; second category, thoughts; third category,
changes in behaviour; and the last category, physical changes.
Now with feelings, you may have had changes in your feelings and you may feel overwhelmed,
guilty. You may feel irritable. You could have feelings of frustration, or you may just
feel unhappy. You could feel indecisive. You may have feelings of disappointment. You could
feel miserable and sad. You may also feel tearful. The second category is thoughts. You may think, “It’s my fault. It’s always my fault. I’m
a failure.” Or you may think, “Nothing good Or you may think, “Nothing good ever happens to me.” There could be thoughts of worthlessness. Or you could think life is just not worth living.
The third category is changes in your behaviour. You may stop doing the things that you once
enjoyed. You could stop going out. You may not be getting things done at work. You may be withdrawing from your family and friends. You could be relying on alcohol and sedatives.
You may have an inability to concentrate. The last category is physical changes. You
may feel tired all the time. You could feel sick and run down. You may have slowness of movement. You could also have slowness of thinking. You could suffer headaches and have
muscular or stomach pains. You may have sleep problems. Or there could be changes in your
eating habits. You may have a poor appetite with weight loss or you maybe constantly hungry. Risk factors for depression in people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Everyone in the
community experiences depression. Just because you are deaf, doesn’t mean that you will have
depression. Here are some reasons why people who are deaf may feel down, isolated and lonely.
The first reason is if they think they are not understood by others. For example, their
family members, friends, or work colleagues don’t know how to communicate with them. This
could lead to people feeling confused and detached from what is going on around them.
Another reason is if they don’t know how to express themselves and their feelings. This
maybe because they can’t express themselves in words or the person with whom they wish
to communicate with is having difficulty communicating. For example, they maybe shouting, yelling,
or using negative facial gestures. Another reason might be in a work place. If people
don’t understand your communication style and there is no interpreter or note-taker
provided, this could lead to feelings of frustration. Another reason may be people who experience
gradual or subtle hearing loss may find it difficult to communicate in loud and congested
areas. Treatments for depression. Depression is a
treatable illness and with the right treatment, most people will recover. There are many types
of treatments available. The first one is a psychological treatment and the second treatment
is medication. Psychological treatments have two available. The first one is cognitive
behaviour therapy. It’s also referred to as CBT. This therapy is where you will sit with
your therapist and discuss your feelings and thoughts of negativity. This helps people
learn to identify and change these thoughts to positive behaviours. The second form of
therapy is interpersonal therapy. This is also referred to as IPT. The way we get along
with others is important to how we feel. Interpersonal therapy helps people find new ways to improve
relationships in order to begin to feel better. The second form of treatment is medication.
If a person is only mildly or moderately depressed, psychological treatment alone may be effective.
However, if depression is severe or persists, medication is often needed. Talk to a doctor
about how anti-depressants work and ask about any side effects. Anti-depressant medication
can take seven to 21 days to work effectively and should not be started or stopped without
medical advice. You should ask your doctor or GP for advice on how to find the help that
is right for you. How to make yourself understood when seeking
help for depression. Talking about depression can be challenging. It can be even more difficult
when there are communication barriers to overcome. This can lead to depression being undetected,
untreated, or misdiagnosed. When you make the appointment, it is important to let the
health professional know that you are deaf or you have a hearing loss, and you need to
ask for an accredited Auslan interpreter. This can be accessed free for private medical
appointments through NABS. Be sure to ask for a professional-level interpreter. You
may also need a longer consultation so that you don’t feel pressured or rushed to explain
your communication requirements along with your symptoms.
If you are using an Auslan interpreter, ask the health professional to talk to you directly
and not to talk to the interpreter. If you don’t need an Auslan interpreter, you
may want to arrange for someone who can help you with communication to attend the appointment
with you. For example, you could use a note-taker. So you wanna find out more information, you
can have a look at the beyondblue website. There, you will find lots of information about
doctors, psychologists and general information about depression. There are also links to
other organisations to find the right service for you.

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