Prevention of depression

Important things for preserving mental health:

Movement: adults should actively move themselves for at least 20 minutes a day; one hour of movement a day is recommended for children.

Sufficient sleep: although people vary in their sleep requirement, eight hours per night is considered a sufficient amount of sleep.

Nutrition: balanced and regular meals are the basis of mental and physical well-being.

Avoiding intoxicating substances:this includes drugs (incl. cannabis) and alcohol (which works as a depressant!) as well as nicotine addiction (people who smoke often experience more anxiety and other negative emotions).

Spending time outdoors:  at least 20 minutes a day will also help to prevent chronic vitamin D deficiency.

What we can do for ourselves and others in order to prevent depression:

-We can learn better problem-solving skills for how to cope with stress. Possessing these skills increases our chances of resolving a challenging situation where we could be facing loss as painlessly as possible.

-It is possible to learn and practise to observe and train our thoughts to worry less (link to worrying) and stop having the same negative thoughts over and over again. Certain hallmarks of anxiety, such as worrying, reticence, or fear have been found to preclude depression. If we can nip those feelings in the bud, we may be able to prevent the development of depression.

-It is possible to remind ourselves how to be more playful and creative, to discover something new. Depression is characterised by not feeling enough emotions that could be described as excitement, joy, interest, enthusiasm, pride. If we practise bringing those feelings into our daily lives, we do not need to worry about depression as much. 

-A very important aspect that requires attention are relationships, both close relationships with the people who are important to us, as well as social inclusivity in general.

We cannot change our childhood. We can make up for any shortcomings with the experience we gain in our adulthood and ensure that we do not burden our children with any unwanted baggage. Children whose parents behave in ways that are less warm, supportive, and encouraging and more overly controlling, as well as children of parents who suffer from depression are at a greater risk for developing depression. The mental well-being of children is also significantly affected by the relationship between their parents and the quality of the family relationships in general.

Having supportive social relationships markedly improves the ability to cope with stressful life events, including depression. The breaking down of significant relationships or dissatisfaction with those relationships are risk factors for depression.

It is important for children to have the support of at least one parent or a person who is in a parental role. It is as important for adults to have a supportive social network to turn to – be it friends, family members, colleagues, support group members, or other like-minded people.

Awareness of attitudes towards depression and people who suffer from depression

The fear of social stigmatisation is a significant factor in seeking help and treatment for depression. It is an important reason why seeking help is delayed, resulting in the depression becoming chronic and more severe. The stigma may be attached to the person from the outside, by societal attitudes, but also by themselves, reaffirming the feeling of worthlessness that accompanies depression. When a person breaks a leg, they do not get put in the corner to shame them for their weak bones or get told to not come out until they have pulled themselves together. We know that this kind of attitude is not helpful in disorders of physical health. Exactly the same applies to mental health disorders.