Don’t worry, be happy, anxiety and depression are treatable

Gloria Weller from COTA Queensland talks about older people and depression at the Halcro Street Community Centre.
Gloria Weller from COTA Queensland talks about older people and depression at the Halcro Street Community Centre. Alistair Brightman

ANXIETY and depression are debilitating illnesses that affect your thinking as well as your physical and emotional wellbeing.

Coping with either is not easy but if you can get the help and support you need, life begins to have new meaning.

As a volunteer trained peer educator with Council on the Ageing, Gloria Weller's role is to spread the message that anxiety or depression is a treatable illness, and there are things you can do to control them.

"COTA started as a people's welfare council to act on behalf of seniors throughout Australia," she said.

"COTA's role is to connect with seniors, take action on seniors' issues and promote safe, confident living by providing information and resources on all topics."

Gloria presented a beyond-blue workshop at Halcro Street Community Centre last week and gave everyone an insight into how to recognise if you or someone you know suffers from anxiety and depression.

"Beyondblue works in partnership with health services and professionals to offer support to people living with anxiety disorder and depression," she said.

Anxiety disorder is more than feeling stressed as it is being anxious, nervous or worried and the disorder implies that it is something not normal.

"Beyondblue wants to get the message out that they're treatable common illnesses but around 50% of people don't seek help,' Gloria said.

"You might have a friend who is going through it and unless you've been there, you won't understand what it's like. People find it hard to function every day," Gloria said.

"Anxiety is the reaction to fear and brings out a fight or flight response.

"Whenever people need a quick burst of energy in order to fight off danger changes happen in the body in order to prepare for the situation."

Anxiety is the most common disorder and nearly one in seven people will experience it at some time in their lives.

Clinical depression can also have serious effects on your physical and emotional health, leaving you to feel worthless and lacking in energy and Gloria said if it interferes with your daily life, the first thing to do is to get professional help.

"You need to go to the doctor first and he'll refer you to the appropriate places. Symptoms in older people can be different from those in younger people, and it can be difficult to diagnose," Gloria said.

"If you notice that someone's mood has not changed over a prolonged period, it may be a possibility they are suffering depression."

If you or anyone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression, phone Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Topics:  cota depression halcro street community centre hervey bay mental health senior matters

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