MORE cash is to be ploughed into battling cases of depression in Wearside as the economic downturn takes its toll.
The Government has announced plans to spend an extra £400million over the next four years on modern therapies in a bid to tackle to growing number of cases.
Now, in National Depression Week, one Wearside woman is urging people to seek support and help if they are starting to feel the strain.
Mum Julie White’s marriage break-up triggered her depression.
Suffering in silence because of the stigma often attached to the illness, the 49-year-old ended up spending a week in Cherry Knowle Hospital before she was forced to take action.
She said: “All I kept thinking about was what people would think when they found out, but I learnt you just have to let go.
“It came to the point where I couldn’t motivate my children and I just couldn’t be bothered. I just didn’t want to live any more.
“When I first came out of hospital I was ashamed of where I’d been and I blamed myself, but then someone told me it’s an illness just like having a cold and it’s not my fault.”
Julie decided to launch a group to help others suffering from depression.
The group meets weekly and provides ongoing support through one-to-one talking as well as group sessions.
“I feel talking really does help, especially with people who have been through it,” Julie said.
“A lot of the time your family and friends can’t really understand because they haven’t been through it and don’t know what it’s like.
“The worst thing anyone can say is ‘pull yourself together’, which happens a lot of the time.”
With fears that the deepening economic crisis is going to trigger a rise in depression cases, Julie is urging people to take action.
“If you feel like you need help, go and get it,” she said. “It’s so important and now there are a lot of services around that can help.
“The economy is bound to have an impact on people with job losses and extra stresses.”
Government Care services minister Paul Burstow said: “The last recession has left many people facing tough times. If people do experience mental health problems, the NHS is well placed to help.
“We’re boosting funding for talking therapies by £400million over the next four years.
“This will ensure that modern, evidence-based therapies are available to all who need them, whether their depression or anxiety are caused by economic worries or anything else.”
Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings, which take place at Headlight, 14 Mary Street, Sunderland, every Tuesday, from 11am to 12.30pm.