Gemma McCaw’s plea to help those suffering from depression

It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from or what job you have, depression doesn't discriminate.

With one in six Kiwi adults being diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives, coupled with this country’s tragically high suicide rate, depression is an issue we simply can’t afford to ignore.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what job you have, depression doesn’t discriminate. It can strike at any time, without warning. We must treat people who are suffering from mental illness with the same compassion and care we have towards those with physical health issues.

If you’re worried about your own or a friend’s mental health, it’s vital to find the courage to ask for help or offer it. Depression isn’t something you can just snap out of – it’s a complex illness that often requires various types of treatment. But speaking up is the first step towards recovery.

Speak up!

If you’re concerned you might be depressed, there are lots of places to turn for help. Remember that there is no shame in reaching out. In fact, it shows courage and strength.


Depression can lead to a loss of enjoyment in life. People may find that the things they used to love doing no longer bring them joy.

Sleep patterns

Some people have trouble sleeping, while others find they’re sleeping too much.


Feelings of fatigue and decreased energy can make even the simplest tasks feel impossible.

Weighing in

Changes in appetite can be a telling symptom. If you’re unintentionally losing or gaining weight, coupled with mood changes, it’s important to seek help.

Out of focus

A lack of concentration can see people becoming stuck, even on tasks like reading or watching TV, and the simplest decisions can seem difficult.


Often seen in younger people and men, irritability is is a common sign of depression.

Variety of symptoms

Depression is more than just the blues. A depressive illness can leave us with a sense of hopelessness and can include feelings of emptiness, numbness or pain. If this persists for more than a few days, it is important you reach out to a loved one or your doctor.

Feeling Hopeless

Some people may feel they have no desire to live and can have thoughts of suicide.


It’s easy to become isolated during bouts of depression. When people are feeling bad about themselves, they can tend to withdraw and have less contact with others.

Restless or delayed

People may get agitated or be unable to sit still. Or they may become very slow in the way they interact and respond – some experience a mix of both.

Where to get help

• Speak to a trusted friend or family member.

• Make an appointment with your doctor.

• Call 0800 LIFELINE or text help to 4357.

• Phone the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757.

• Visit depression.org.nz for more information and resources.

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